The potential relationship between levels of perceived stress and subtypes of major depressive disorder (MDD)

Amy H. Farabaugh, D. Mischoulon, M. Fava, C. Green, W. Guyker, J. Alpert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations


Objective: We wanted to explore whether major depressive disorder (MDD) subtypes (melancholic depression, atypical depression, double depression, and MDD with anger attacks) were related to levels of perceived stress, as measured by the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). Method: Our sample [n = 298; female = 163 (55%); mean age 40.1 ± 10.5 years] consisted of out-patients with MDD. The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R, the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, the Anger Attack Questionnaire, and the PSS were administered prior to initiating treatment. Results: Depressed women had significantly higher levels of perceived stress (P = 0.02) than depressed men. Greater severity of depression at baseline was significantly related to higher levels of perceived stress (P < 0.0001). After adjusting for age, gender, and severity of depression at baseline, higher levels of perceived stress were significantly related to the presence of anger attacks (P < 0.0001; t = -4.103) as well as to atypical depression (P = 0.0013; t = 3.26). Conclusion: Out-patients with MDD who are more irritable and/or present with atypical features have higher levels of perceived stress, indicating a potential reactive component to their depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-470
Number of pages6
JournalActa Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2004
Externally publishedYes



  • Major depression
  • Perceived stress
  • Subtypes of depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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