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The relationship between the perception of major life events and depression: A systematic scoping review and meta-analysis


Haehner, Peter; Würtz, Felix; Kritzler, Sarah; Kunna, Marius; Luhmann, Maike; Woud, Marcella L (2024). The relationship between the perception of major life events and depression: A systematic scoping review and meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 349:145-157.

Abstract

Background
Major life events can lead to depression in adulthood. However, as predicted by several depression theories, not only the mere occurrence of major life events but also the way people perceive them determines the onset of a depression.

Methods
Based on a systematic literature search, we identified 276 studies (Ntotal = 89,600) that examined the relationship between the perception of major life events and depression. We provide an overview of how this relationship has been examined. Furthermore, we meta-analytically integrated 420 effect sizes (172 studies) on the association between the perception of major life events and depression.

Results
Most studies relied on college student samples, were cross-sectional, and were conducted in the United States. A more negative perception of events was significantly associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms (r = 0.28). This association was robust across several design and sample characteristics. Furthermore, the perception of major life events and depression were also longitudinally associated with each other (event perception predicting later depressive symptoms: r = 0.26; depressive symptoms predicting later event perception: r = 0.17).

Limitations
Longitudinal research on the relationship between depression and the perception of major life events was relatively rare impairing definite conclusions on whether the perception of life events can predict changes in depressive symptoms over time.

Conclusion
The perception of major life events is related to depression. However, further longitudinal research considering a range of different perceived event characteristics and using non-Western heterogeneous samples is needed to better understand their relationship.

Abstract

Background
Major life events can lead to depression in adulthood. However, as predicted by several depression theories, not only the mere occurrence of major life events but also the way people perceive them determines the onset of a depression.

Methods
Based on a systematic literature search, we identified 276 studies (Ntotal = 89,600) that examined the relationship between the perception of major life events and depression. We provide an overview of how this relationship has been examined. Furthermore, we meta-analytically integrated 420 effect sizes (172 studies) on the association between the perception of major life events and depression.

Results
Most studies relied on college student samples, were cross-sectional, and were conducted in the United States. A more negative perception of events was significantly associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms (r = 0.28). This association was robust across several design and sample characteristics. Furthermore, the perception of major life events and depression were also longitudinally associated with each other (event perception predicting later depressive symptoms: r = 0.26; depressive symptoms predicting later event perception: r = 0.17).

Limitations
Longitudinal research on the relationship between depression and the perception of major life events was relatively rare impairing definite conclusions on whether the perception of life events can predict changes in depressive symptoms over time.

Conclusion
The perception of major life events is related to depression. However, further longitudinal research considering a range of different perceived event characteristics and using non-Western heterogeneous samples is needed to better understand their relationship.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Clinical Psychology
Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Psychiatry and Mental health, Clinical Psychology
Language:English
Date:15 March 2024
Deposited On:30 Jan 2024 08:48
Last Modified:31 Mar 2024 01:39
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0165-0327
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2024.01.042
Project Information:
  • : FunderStudienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderDeutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
  • : Grant IDWO 2018/2-1
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderDeutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
  • : Grant IDWO 2018/3-1
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderDeutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
  • : Grant ID316803389
  • : Project Title