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Life events and depressiveness – the effect of adjustment for psychosocial factors, somatic health and genetic liability


Dr Kalle Romanov, POB 41, 00014 University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland


Objective: To study the nature of the relationship of life events with depressiveness.

Method: In 1990, 9947 Finnish adult twins aged 33–60 years participated in a questionnaire study, with no missing data on the analysed variables. The relationship between stressful life-events and depressiveness, based on Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) classified as normal, mild or moderate, was analysed using multinomial regression for all subjects with adjustment for the effect of age, sex, health status, social support, marital status, social class, and personality variables. These same factors were analyzed among 643 twin pairs discordant for depressiveness.

Results: High BDI score categories were strongly associated with stressful life events in all individuals and equally strongly within discordant twin pairs, both monozygotic and dizygotic. Poor somatic health and lack of social support also increased depressiveness.

Conclusion: The effect of life events predicting depressiveness was independent of social support, somatic disease, sex and genetic liability.