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MAJOR DEPRESSION IN THE POPULATION:

A PUBLIC HEALTH APPROACH


William W. Eaton, PhD, Johns Hopkins University, 2013

Copyright 2013, The Johns Hopkins University and William W. Eaton. This work is licensed under the Crea3ve
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Section B: Stress and Diathesis

Life events are associated with onset of


Depression
A Case Control Study

Percent

Cases
with
severe
(patients)

Cases
events
prior
(survey)

to

Controls
onset
(survey)

One or more
severe events

61%

68%

20%

No severe
events

39%

32%

80%

Total percent

100%

100%

100%

114

76

382

Number of
persons

Source: Brown and Harris. (1978). Social origins of depression, pp. 57-58, 103.

The occurrence of Life Events potentiates


Heredity
An example of Gene-environment interaction
Onset of major depression in 2,164 female twins

Source: Adapted from Kendler et al. (1995). Am J Psychiatry.

Stress Interacts with Trait Neuroticism

Source: Kendler et al. (2004). Am J Psychiatry.

Diathesis Stress Model

Source: Eaton et al, 2001