• quality of life;
  • depression;
  • lagged linear models

Objective:  Little is known about predictive effects of quality of life aspects on the course of depressive symptoms in clinical and non-clinical settings. This study examines longitudinal associations between depressive symptoms and subjective quality of life (QOL) dimensions using a parallel sample of depressed patients and community controls.

Method:  Eighty-two depressed patients were investigated 1, 6, and 42 months after hospital discharge together with 76 community controls regarding depressive symptoms measured by Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) and QOL (WHOQOL-BREF). Data analysis included time-lagged linear models.

Results:  Physical, psychological, environmental and overall QOL, controlled for depressive symptoms, predicted future depression levels. Group status did not moderate these associations. Depressive symptoms predicted future QOL levels only regarding social relations.

Conclusion:  Our study suggests that subjective QOL domains have prognostic value for the course of depressive symptoms over time, both in patient and community samples. Respective self-perceptions should therefore be directly addressed by therapeutic and preventive interventions.