Early improvement in positive rather than negative emotion predicts remission from depression after pharmacotherapy

Nicole Geschwind*, Nancy A. Nicolson, Frenk Peeters, Jim van Os, Daniela Barge-Schaapveld, Marieke Wichers

*Corresponding author for this work

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Knowledge on mechanisms involved in early prediction of response to antidepressant medication may help optimize clinical decision making. Recent studies regarding response to pharmacotherapy implicate resilience-like mechanisms and involvement of positive, rather than negative emotions. The aim of the current study is to examine the contribution of early change in positive affect to the prediction of response to pharmacotherapy. Positive and negative emotions were measured at baseline and during the first week of pharmacotherapy, using experience sampling techniques. The association between early change in positive and negative emotions and severity of depressive symptoms at week six was examined in a sample of 49 depressed patients. The added benefits of measuring early change in positive emotions compared to early Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) change alone were evaluated through model comparisons. Early improvement in positive affect during the first week of treatment predicted the continuous HDRS score (beta=-0.64, p <0.001), response (50% reduction; OR=4.32, p
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-247
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


  • Affect
  • Depression
  • Treatment response
  • Experience sampling method
  • Early improvement
  • Prognosis

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