How many different symptom combinations fulfil the diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder? Results from the CRESCEND study

Seon Cheol Park, Jae Min Kim, Tae Youn Jun, Min-Soo Lee, Jung Bum Kim, Hyeon Woo Yim, Yong Chon Park

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Background: The polythetic nature of major depressive disorder (MDD) in DSM- IV and DSM-5 inevitably leads to diagnostic heterogeneity. Aims: This study aimed to identify the number of depressive symptom combinations actually fulfilling the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria that can be found in Korean MDD patients and the relative frequencies of each combination. Methods: Using the data from the Clinical Research Center for Depression (CRESCEND) study in South Korea, we enrolled 853 MDD patients diagnosed using DSM-IV and scored as 8 or more on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD). Descriptive statistical analyses were performed to reveal the degree of diagnostic heterogeneity of the MDD. Results: This study identified 119 different depressive symptom combinations. The most common combination consisted of all nine depressive symptom profiles, and nine different combinations were each present in more than 3% of the patients. Conclusion: The findings support the criticism that the diagnosis of MDD is not based on a single mental process, but on a set of ‘family resemblances’.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)217-222
    Number of pages6
    JournalNordic Journal of Psychiatry
    Volume71
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2017 Apr 3

    Keywords

    • depressive symptom combinations
    • diagnostic heterogeneity
    • family resemblances
    • Major depressive disorder
    • polythetic definition

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychiatry and Mental health

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