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Publications (3)12.14 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Although the diagnosis of melancholia has had a long history, the validity of the current DSM-IV definition remains contentious. We report here the first detailed comparison of melancholic and nonmelancholic major depression (MD) in a Chinese population examining in particular whether these two forms of MD differ quantitatively or qualitatively. DSM-IV criteria for melancholia were applied to 1,970 Han Chinese women with recurrent MD recruited from 53 provincial mental health centers and psychiatric departments of general medical hospitals in 41 cities. Statistical analyses, utilizing Student's t-tests and Pearson's χ(2) , were calculated using SPSS 13.0. Melancholic patients with MD were distinguished from nonmelancholic by being older, having a later age at onset, more episodes of illness and meeting more A criteria. They also had higher levels of neuroticism and rates of lifetime generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social and agoraphobia. They had significantly lower rates of childhood sexual abuse but did not differ on other stressful life events or rates of MD in their families. Consistent with most prior findings in European and US populations, we find that melancholia is a more clinically severe syndrome than nonmelancholic depression with higher rates of comorbidity. The evidence that it is a more "biological" or qualitatively distinct syndrome, however, is mixed.
    Depression and Anxiety 11/2011; 29(1):4-9. · 4.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The personality trait of neuroticism is a risk factor for major depressive disorder (MDD), but this relationship has not been demonstrated in clinical samples from Asia. We examined a large-scale clinical study of Chinese Han women with recurrent major depression and community-acquired controls. Elevated levels of neuroticism increased the risk for lifetime MDD (with an odds ratio of 1.37 per SD), contributed to the comorbidity of MDD with anxiety disorders, and predicted the onset and severity of MDD. Our findings largely replicate those obtained in clinical populations in Europe and US but differ in two ways: we did not find a relationship between melancholia and neuroticism; we found lower mean scores for neuroticism (3.6 in our community control sample). Our findings do not apply to MDD in community-acquired samples and may be limited to Han Chinese women. It is not possible to determine whether the association between neuroticism and MDD reflects a causal relationship. Neuroticism acts as a risk factor for MDD in Chinese women, as it does in the West and may particularly predispose to comorbidity with anxiety disorders. Cultural factors may have an important effect on its measurement.
    Journal of affective disorders 08/2011; 135(1-3):100-5. · 3.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In European and US studies, patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) report more stressful life events (SLEs) than controls, but this relationship has rarely been studied in Chinese populations. Sixteen lifetime SLEs were assessed at interview in two groups of Han Chinese women: 1970 clinically ascertained with recurrent MDD and 2597 matched controls. Diagnostic and other risk factor information was assessed at personal interview. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated by logistic regression. 60% of controls and 72% of cases reported at least one lifetime SLE. Fourteen of the sixteen SLEs occurred significantly more frequently in those with MDD (median odds ratio of 1.6). The three SLEs most strongly associated with risk for MDD (OR>3.0) preceded the onset of MDD the majority of the time: rape (82%), physical abuse (100%) and serious neglect (99%). Our results may apply to females only. SLEs were rated retrospectively and are subject to biases in recollection. We did not assess contextual information for each life event. More severe SLEs are more strongly associated with MDD. These results support the involvement of psychosocial adversity in the etiology of MDD in China.
    Journal of affective disorders 08/2011; 135(1-3):95-9. · 3.76 Impact Factor