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Major depressive disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, and their comorbidity: Associations with cortisol in the Vietnam Experience Study

Phillips, Anna C. and Batty, G. David and Gale, Catharine R. and Lord, Janet M. and Arlt, Wiebke and Carroll, Douglas (2011) Major depressive disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, and their comorbidity: Associations with cortisol in the Vietnam Experience Study. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 36 (5). pp. 682-690. ISSN 03064530

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URL of Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2010.09.011

Identification Number/DOI: doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2010.09.011

Objectives: The aim of these analyses was to examine the association of cortisol, dehydroepi- androsterone sulphate (DHEAS), and the cortisol:DHEAS ratio with the diagnoses of major depressive disorder (MDD), generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), and their comorbidity.
Design: This was a cross-sectional study.
Methods: Participants were 4256 Vietnam era US army veterans. From military service files, telephone interviews, and a medical examination, occupational, socio-demographic, and health data were collected. One-year prevalence of MDD and GAD was determined through a diagnostic interview schedule based on the DSM-IV criteria. Contemporary morning fasted cortisol and DHEAS concentrations were determined. Analyses of covariance were run, first with adjustment for age and then additionally adjusting for a range of candidate confounders.
Results: In fully adjusted analyses, there was evidence of lower basal cortisol levels in individuals with MDD and co-morbid MDD and GAD than those with GAD alone or no diagnosis.
Conclusion: This suggests that MDD and its comorbidity can also be characterised by low as well as high cortisol levels. A profitable line of future research might be to examine cortisol and DHEAS levels in more representative samples including older participants and women with and without MDD, GAD, and other psychiatric diagnoses.

Type of Work:Article
Date:2011 (Publication)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Sport and Exercise Sciences
Subjects:BF Psychology
GV Recreation Leisure
Institution:University of Birmingham
Copyright Holders:Elsevier
ID Code:1250
Refereed:YES
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