Social functioning in depression: A review

Robert M.A. Hirschfeld, Stuart A. Montgomery, Martin B. Keller, Siegfried Kasper, Alan F. Schatzberg, Hans Jürgen Möller, David Healy, David Baldwin, Mats Humble, Marcio Versiani, Roger Montenegro, Marc Bourgeois

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

387 Scopus citations


Objective: This article reviews the available data on social functioning in depression and provides clinical guidelines and opinion on this important and expanding field. Data sources: A MEDLINE search was conducted to identify all English-language articles (1988-1999) using the search terms depression and social functioning, depression and social adjustment, depression and psychosocial functioning, and social functioning and antidepressant. Further articles were obtained from the bibliographies of relevant articles. Data synthesis: Depressive disorders are frequently associated with significant and pervasive impairments in social functioning, often substantially worse than those experienced by patients with other chronic medical conditions. The enormous personal, social, and economic impact of depression, due in no small part to the associated impairments in social functioning, is often underappreciated. Both pharmacologic and psychotherapeutic approaches can improve social impairments, although there is a lack of extended, randomized controlled trials in this area using consistent assessment criteria. Conclusion: Despite this lack, it is becoming clear that not all treatments are equally effective in relieving the impaired social functioning associated with depressive disorders. Furthermore, efficacy in relieving the core symptoms of depression does not necessarily guarantee efficacy in relieving impaired social functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-275
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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