A new Canadian study discovers that previous depression, daily smoking and a lack of control over life circumstances are risk factors for repeat episodes of depression.
Depression is a common disorder and can be associated with weight and dietary control, pain and inattention to other health issues. According to the authors, about 65 percent of people with depression have repeat episodes.
In the study, researchers studied 585 adults from Statistics Canada’s National Population Health Survey who had suffered depression in 2000/01.
Of the patients, 65 percent were women with an average age of 38.5 years. Interestingly, 82 percent of the depressed individuals were in the middle- to high-income bracket.
More than half the patients had one or more episodes of depression in the following six years.
The researchers found that age, sex and income were not associated with future depressive episodes but that daily smoking and difficulty mastering life circumstances were associated with long-term depression.
Mastery is the sense that people have control over their lives and their circumstances. In this study, high levels of mastery appeared to be protective against further depression.
“History of depression is a well-known clinical indicator of future depressive episodes; however, smoking and mastery are more novel prognostic factors that are not well accounted for in current clinical practice,” said lead researcher Ian Colman, Ph.D.
“Future research should evaluate the benefits of including smoking cessation and mastery in existing clinical guidelines for the treatment of depression.”