May 1987

Affective Disorders and MortalityA General Population Study

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School (Dr Murphy); the Departments of Epidemiology (Dr Monson), Behavioral Sciences (Mr Sobol), and the Health Sciences Computing Facility (Dr Olivier), Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, and the Departments of Psychiatry and of Community Health and Epidemiology, Dalhousie Medical School, Halifax, Canada (Dr Leighton).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1987;44(5):473-480. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1987.01800170095012

• A 16-year prospective study of a general population sample indicates that those who had reported a depression and/or anxiety disorder at baseline experienced 1.5 times the number of deaths expected on the basis of rates for a large reference population. As part of the Stirling County Study (Canada), the information was gathered from 1003 adults through structured interviews and was analyzed by means of a diagnostic computer program. The risk for mortality was assessed using external and internal standards, controlling for the effects of age and sex as well as for the presence of self-reported physical disorders at baseline. Increased risk was found to be significantly associated with affective but not physical disorders and with depression but not generalized anxiety. When this evidence about mortality was combined with information about subsequent psychiatric morbidity among survivors, 82% of those who were depressed at baseline had a poor outcome.