Social Status May Affect Depression Treatment Outcome

Working class, poor with depression see less improvement in work function after treatment

THURSDAY, Nov. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Working-class and poor individuals may see less improvement in their ability to function at work after treatment for depression compared to middle-class patients, according to research published in the July issue of Psychiatric Services.

Lydia Falconnier, Ph.D., of the University of Illinois in Chicago, analyzed data from research conducted in the 1980s. The participants were 239 individuals with major depressive disorder who received different treatments. Social class was assessed with the Hollingshead Two-Factor Index of Social Position, and change in work functioning was assessed with the Social Adjustment Scale. Family income was also assessed.

The researchers found that patients in lower social classes had fewer gains in work functioning during treatment -- including interpersonal psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and imipramine hydrochloride plus clinical management -- compared to middle-class patients.

"One route to improved outcomes might be to adapt current therapies to include a greater focus on the daily work and economic stressors that low-income individuals face. It also seems likely that these findings speak to the importance of addressing factors that might prevent an individual from achieving satisfactory work functioning, such as lack of transportation or child care, difficulties that may be more likely to occur for individuals from a lower social class," the authors write.

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