Course of depressive symptoms in men and women: differential effects of social, psychological, behavioral and somatic predictors

Ana N Tibubos, Elmar Brähler, Mareike Ernst, Carlotta Baumgarten, Joerg Wiltink, Juliane Burghardt, Matthias Michal, Jasmin Ghaemi Kerahrodi, Andreas Schulz, Philipp S Wild, Thomas Münzel, Irene Schmidtmann, Karl J Lackner, Norbert Pfeiffer, Andreas Borta, Manfred E Beutel

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

23 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we aimed to identify the most important and sex-specific social, psychological, behavioral and somatic predictors of recurrent depressive symptoms. Data was obtained at two measurement points within five years by the Gutenberg Health Study (GHS). Out of N = 12,061 individuals, a sample of 877 (age 52.3 ± 9.9) who reported clinically relevant depressive symptoms at baseline was analyzed. Univariate analyses and multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted. Almost half of participants depressed at baseline also reported depressive symptoms five years later. Sex-stratified multivariate analyses revealed that solely social support remained a significant protective predictor against recurrence of depression in men (OR = 0.93; CI95% = 0.87-0.99), whereas in women smoking (OR = 1.97; CI95% = 1.23-3.22), and Type D personality (OR = 1.65; CI95% = 1.10-2.49) were significant risk factors. However, when analyzing the entire sample, no interaction effect between sex and each predictor turned out to be significant. Only social support was retained as an overall predictive factor. As depressive symptoms recur, depressive vulnerability is established involving personality, health behavior and social factors. Although no significant sex-specific interactions were observed, sex-stratified analyses point out different patterns for relevant predictors of recurrent depressive symptoms in men and women.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18929
Pages (from-to)18929
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • Depressive Disorder/psychology
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Support


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