The development of valid subtypes for depression in primary care settings: A preliminary study using an explanatory model approach

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Abstract

A persistent theme in the debate on the classification of depressive disorders is the distinction between biological and environmental depressions. Despite decades of research, there remains little consensus on how to distinguish between depressive subtypes. This preliminary study describes a method that could be useful, if implemented on a larger scale, in the development of valid subtypes of depression in primary care settings, using explanatory models of depressive illness. Seventeen depressed Hispanic patients at an inner city general practice participated in explanatory model interviews. Participants generated illness narratives, which included details about symptoms, cause, course, impact, health seeking, and anticipated outcome. Two distinct subtypes emerged from the analysis. The internal model subtype was characterized by internal attributions, specifically the notion of an "injured self." The external model subtype conceptualized depression as a reaction to life situations. Each subtype was associated with a distinct constellation of clinical features and health seeking experiences. Future directions for research using explanatory models to establish depressive subtypes are explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-296
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Volume196
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2008

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Primary Health Care
Depression
Health
Depressive Disorder
Hispanic Americans
Research
General Practice
Consensus
Interviews
Direction compound

Keywords

  • Classification
  • Conceptual models
  • Depression
  • Explanatory model
  • Illness representation
  • Subtypes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

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abstract = "A persistent theme in the debate on the classification of depressive disorders is the distinction between biological and environmental depressions. Despite decades of research, there remains little consensus on how to distinguish between depressive subtypes. This preliminary study describes a method that could be useful, if implemented on a larger scale, in the development of valid subtypes of depression in primary care settings, using explanatory models of depressive illness. Seventeen depressed Hispanic patients at an inner city general practice participated in explanatory model interviews. Participants generated illness narratives, which included details about symptoms, cause, course, impact, health seeking, and anticipated outcome. Two distinct subtypes emerged from the analysis. The internal model subtype was characterized by internal attributions, specifically the notion of an {"}injured self.{"} The external model subtype conceptualized depression as a reaction to life situations. Each subtype was associated with a distinct constellation of clinical features and health seeking experiences. Future directions for research using explanatory models to establish depressive subtypes are explored.",
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