Depressive Disorders: Risk for

Risk refers to any factor that heightens the likelihood of developing a depressive disorder or symptoms. Risk denotes a predisposition to, but not necessarily the guaranteed development of, a disorder or illness. Whereas risk provides only descriptive information about precursors to depression, a similar construct, vulnerability, provides more causal information. The pathway from risk or vulnerability to emergence of depression is best explained by diathesis-stress theories, such as the vulnerability/transactional-stress model: Depression arises only when one or more risk factors interact with stressful, negative events. Identifying risk factors for depression is essential for understanding the etiology of depression and developing prevention and early intervention strategies. Risk factors for depression can be divided roughly into three categories: (1) biological, (2) cognitive/psychological, and (3) social/environmental. This entry ...

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