Optimal Well-Being After Major Depression

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depression, emotion, epidemiology, happiness

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Can people achieve optimal well-being and thrive after major depression? Contemporary epidemiology dismisses this possibility, viewing depression as a recurrent, burdensome condition with a bleak prognosis. To estimate the prevalence of thriving after depression in United States adults, we used data from the Midlife Development in the United States study. To count as thriving after depression, a person had to exhibit no evidence of major depression and had to exceed cutoffs across nine facets of psychological well-being that characterize the top 25% of U.S. nondepressed adults. Overall, nearly 10% of adults with study-documented depression were thriving 10 years later. The phenomenon of thriving after depression has implications for how the prognosis of depression is conceptualized and for how mental health professionals communicate with patients. Knowing what makes thriving outcomes possible offers new leverage points to help reduce the global burden of depression.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Clinical Psychological Science, v. 7, issue 3, p. 621-627