Depressive traits might be more common among adults in the U.S.

Depressive episodes associated with clinical depression might be more common among adults in the U.S. than previously thought, new research by Yale University suggests.

The findings appeared in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

As part of national survey data, it is estimated that 17 percent of women and 10 percent of men purportedly have exhibited a history of clinical depressive episodes throughout their life span. A portion of the data, however, might be the subject of misreporting or cognitive failure in recalling their purported history, researchers assert.

As a result, a Yale research team constructed a simulation model that is purported to demonstrate estimates of depressive episodes throughout one’s life span.

In their findings, it suggests that as many as 30 percent of women and 17 percent of men were cognitively dysfunctional in recalling their prior history of depressive episodes.

“Major depressive episodes are far more common than we thought,” said Jamie Tam, the study’s lead author.

“Our model shows that the probability of someone having a first major depressive episode is especially high during adolescence. We also know from other research that having a first major depressive episode increases the likelihood you’ll have a second one. This means that anything we can do to prevent or treat episodes among young people could lead to larger health benefits over the course of their life.”

The study also unearthed results showing that older adults may be likely to under-report their history of depressive symptoms, with a rate as high as 70 percent.

“After adjusting for under-reporting, 23.9% of adults have a lifetime history of major depressive episodes, which is much higher than based on self-report alone (14.0%). Far more adults would benefit from depression prevention strategies than what survey estimates suggest,” the study concluded.

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