Depression symptom clusters in adolescents: A latent class analysis in a clinical sample

Maria E. Loades, Michelle C. St Clair, Faith Orchard, Ian Goodyer, Shirley Reynolds, IMPACT Consortium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background
Major depression is clinically heterogeneous. We aimed to identify classes of depressed adolescents with different symptom presentations and examine if these were differentially associated with illness severity, functioning, engagement with treatment, and clinical outcomes.

Method
Baseline depression symptoms of 454 depressed adolescents (age 11–17) from the IMPACT trial were subjected to latent class analysis. We compared classes on self-reported symptoms and social impairment at baseline and follow-up and their engagement in treatment.

Results
We identified three classes of participants which differed in the number and pattern of depression symptoms; Class 1—Severe- (37.2%)—endorsed almost all symptoms and were most functionally impaired; Class 2—Moderate- (41.9%)—endorsed fewer symptoms with high suicidal ideation, self-harm, and worthlessness; Class 3—Somatic (20.9%)—endorsed fewest symptoms, with high somatic symptoms. Groups did not differ on engagement, therapeutic alliance, or post-treatment symptom reduction. Adolescents in the severe and moderate subgroups reported symptom reductions after treatment ended, whilst those in the somatic subgroup did not.

Conclusions
At presentation, high somatic features in depressed adolescents, rather than severity, or impairment levels, may indicate lower liability for responding to psychological treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)860-873
Number of pages14
JournalPsychotherapy Research
Volume32
Issue number7
Early online date3 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2022

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