Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

The Role of Family History of Depression in the Development of Major Depression in Women During Midlife

Colvin, Alicia (2012) The Role of Family History of Depression in the Development of Major Depression in Women During Midlife. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Primary Text

Download (1MB) | Preview


Depression is associated with increased morbidity and mortality and is highly prevalent, particularly in women. Studies indicate increased risk for onset of new and recurrent episodes of major depression in women during midlife. To improve understanding of the etiology of depression in midlife women and to inform prevention and treatment efforts, the risk and protective factors that influence the occurrence and course of depression in midlife women should be determined. In particular, the role of family history of depression in the development of depression among midlife women is unknown. This dissertation explores associations between family history and major depression in midlife women in the context of other risk and protective factors.
First, the relationship between family history and major depression was examined in 303 midlife women. Results showed that family history of depression is a significant predictor of midlife major depression, particularly in women with a history of depression prior to midlife.
Second, data from the same cohort of midlife women showed that family history of depression is associated with midlife major depression, after controlling for the menopausal transition and relevant time-varying covariates. Furthermore, menopausal status is associated with major depression among midlife women without a family history of depression, but not among those with a family history.
Third, potential mediators of the relationship between family history and the onset of major depression during midlife were explored in 103 midlife women with a lifetime history of depression. Mediation analyses provided evidence that childhood abuse, trait anxiety, and life events mediate the effect of family history on the onset of depression during midlife.
In conclusion, family history of depression continues to play an important role in the development of depression in women during midlife, particularly for women with a prior history of depression. The public health relevance of our findings is that clinicians may be able to improve the emotional health of midlife women by assessing family and lifetime history of depression to identify those at risk and by closely monitoring mood among women found to have such histories, thus allowing for implementation of appropriate interventions in a timely manner.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Colvin, Alicia abc37@pitt.eduABC37
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBromberger, Joycebrombergerjt@upmc.eduJBROM
Committee MemberCyranowski,
Committee MemberRichardson, Galegar@pitt.eduGAR
Committee MemberYouk, Adaayouk@pitt.eduAYOUK
Date: 13 August 2012
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 21 May 2012
Approval Date: 13 August 2012
Submission Date: 6 June 2012
Access Restriction: 1 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 1 year.
Number of Pages: 143
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: family history of depression, major depression, menopause, midlife women
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2012 16:21
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:38


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item