This study examined the association between active and past major depression and deficits in young adult functioning using data from a longitudinal community study (N = 354). Three groups were compared: (1) participants with a 1-year diagnosis of major depression at age 26 (active group); (2) those who experienced major depression during the transition to adulthood, ages 18-25, but did not have active depression at age 26 (past group); and (3) individuals not meeting diagnostic criteria for depression during the transition period. Results highlight serious deficits in psychosocial functioning at age 26 linked to both active and past depression. Although participants with active depression experienced the greatest number of problems, those with past depression evidenced similar deficits across many important domains of functioning. The significant impairments characterizing those with past depression indicate the need for continued monitoring to decrease the risk of recurrence and the establishment of a chronic course of illness.
"If prevalence decreases across the emerging adult years, it may be assumed that associated functional impairments decrease as well. Although several studies have established a link between psychiatric disorder and impaired functioning in late adolescence and emerging adulthood (Fergusson and Woodward, 2002; Heiligenstein et al., 1996; Reinherz et al., 1993, 1999), few have tested whether both current and past disorder undermine functioning during emerging adulthood (see for exception Paradis et al., 2006). Because of high rates of onset of psychiatric disorder before emerging adulthood, investigations of associations between psychiatric disorder and functioning during emerging adulthood require consideration of both current and past episodes of disorder. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The authors examined change and demonstrated variation in the prevalence of psychiatric disorders from ages 21 to 30 in a prospective community study (n = 352) using generalized estimating equations and investigated effects of past and recent psychiatric disorder on emerging adult functioning (at age 30). Results revealed significant declines in 12-month prevalence of phobia and substance use disorders from ages 21 to 30 but not in depression or posttraumatic stress disorder. Males were at significantly higher risk for lifetime substance use disorders; females were at higher risk for lifetime depression, phobia, and PTSD. Twelve-month and lifetime disorder were associated with impaired global functioning at age 30. Internalizing disorders were associated with impaired interpersonal functioning, whereas externalizing disorders were associated with impaired socioeconomic functioning. Results of this study have implications for mental health service planning in emerging adulthood.
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