Family history of depression is associated with younger age of onset in patients with recurrent depression

F. Tozzi, I. Prokopenko, J. D. Perry, J. L. Kennedy, A. D. McCarthy, F. Holsboer, W. Berrettini, L. T. Middleton, H. D. Chilcoat, P. Muglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background. Genetic epidemiology data suggest that younger age of onset is associated with family history (FH) of depression. The present study tested whether the presence of FH for depression or anxiety in first-degree relatives determines younger age of onset for depression. Method. A sample of 1022 cases with recurrent major depressive disorder (MDD) was recruited at the Max Planck Institute and at two affiliated hospitals. Patients were assessed using the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry and questionnaires including demographics, medical history, questions on the use of alcohol and tobacco, personality traits and life events. Survival analysis and the Cox proportional hazard model were used to determine whether FH of depression signals earlier age of onset of depression. Results. Patients who reported positive FH had a significantly earlier age of onset than patients who did not report FH of depression (log-rank=48, df=1, p

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-649
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Age of onset
  • Depression
  • Family history
  • Mood disorders
  • Psychiatry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • General Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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