The Association Between the Severity and Level of Understanding of Depression Among Patients Treated With Antidepressants: A Survey of 424 Outpatients in Japan

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The present study investigated the association between the severity and knowledge of depression and attempted to reveal the specific aspects of understanding associated with severity.


A total of 424 outpatients were enrolled in this study. We used an original self-administered questionnaire: (a) the symptoms of depression, (b) the course of depression, (c) the cause of depression, (d) the treatment plan, (e) the duration of antidepressant use, (f) how to discontinue antidepressant use, (g) the adverse effects of antidepressants, and (h) psychotherapy. Each category consisted of the following questions: “How much do you understand about your treatment?” The level of understanding was rated on an 11-point scale ranging from 0 to 10. The following scales were administered: the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology, Japanese version (QIDS-J); the Global Assessment of Functioning; and the Clinical Global Impression, Severity scale. Subjects were divided in 5 groups according to severity of QIDS-J. Clinical characteristics were also investigated.


Based on an analysis of variance, significant differences were found among the 5 groups with regard to age at onset, duration of disease, and duration of antidepressant use. A multiple regression analysis revealed that item B significantly and negatively predicted the QIDS-J scores, whereas item C significantly and positively predicted these scores. Some multiple logistic regression models seeking to distinguish severity found that all but items E to H were significantly associated with severity.


Items B and C were significantly negatively and positively associated with depression severity, respectively. Sufficient and suitable psychoeducation in and knowledge of depression might improve the treatment responses in patients with depression.

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