chapter  6
Life-events and depression
Pages 17

We can at last turn to life-events and the aetiology of depression. We will first present some basic results.

Basic results If a particular class of event plays a causal role it will be significantly more common among the depressed patients than non-depressed women living in Camberwell. 1 As it turned out it is only events with marked long-term threat, or moderate long-term threat, focussed on the woman herself or jointly with someone else, that have a higher rate and therefore appear capable of playing a causal role. We call these events severe. 2 (We assume that possible sources of invalidity have been ruled out.) The distinction between long-and short-term threat is central-it will be recalled that the threat of the latter sort has largely cleared up within a week of occurrence. Events threatening only in the short-term, however painful or outrageous, do not seem to bring about depression. This basic result occurred among all groups of depressed women.