Melancholia and axis II comorbidity

Joyce Tedlow, Megan Smith, Nicole Neault, Laura Polania, Jonathan Alpert, Andrew Nierenberg, Maurizio Fava

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This study assessed whether the rates of comorbid personality disorders differed between DSM-IV melancholic and nonmelancholic major depressive disorder. We evaluated 260 consecutive depressed outpatients (140 women [53.8%]; mean age, 39.01 ± 10.4 years) with DSM-III-R major depressive disorder (MDD). MDD was diagnosed with the use of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R-Patient Edition (SCID-P); enrolled patients were required to have a score ≥ 16 on the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D-17). The presence of the melancholic subtype of major depression was determined with the use of a DSM-IV checklist, while the presence of personality disorders was assessed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R-Personality Disorders (SCID-II). Of the 102 (39.2%) patients who met criteria for melancholic depression and the 158 (60.7%) who did not, there were no significant differences in age, gender, or rates of personality disorder diagnoses. We observed no significant difference in rates of individual personality disorder clusters between melancholic and nonmelancholic depressed patients. Our findings of comparable rates of comorbid personality disorders between melancholic and nonmelancholic depression are consistent with the decision made by the DSM-IV task force to drop the DSM-III-R melancholic feature criterion of "no significant personality disturbance before first major depressive episode" as they challenge the usefulness of trying to establish such absence of premorbid personality features in acutely depressed patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-335
Number of pages5
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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