OBJECTIVE: This study examines the extent to which depression affects specific objective life quality parameters. The respective life quality parameters were investigated on a long-term basis and concern the social and material resources of those persons surveyed. METHOD: The database used for statistical evaluations originates from the longitudinal survey "Zurich Study" initiated in 1979. In this work the evaluations are limited to those persons who participated in all six structured interviews which took place between 1979 and 1999 (278 of initially 591 Persons). The effects of depression on the objective parameters of life quality were analyzed by linear and logistical regressions. RESULTS: According to this study, people suffering from depression show disadvantages regarding their living situation and their civil status. Among them one finds increased divorce and separation quota and they live more frequently alone than persons without depressive disorders. CONCLUSIONS: The findings refer to possible social withdrawal tendencies among people suffering from depression. Social withdrawal tendencies should be counteracted as far as possible by upholding or developing a network of firm contacts and relationships. Special attention should be paid in the therapy of depression patients to working out strategies for solving marriage crises or relationship conflicts.