Deconstructing recovery: A prospective study on well-being, symptom severity and acceptance in patients with major depressive disorders

Annelies Weijers*, Sanne Rasing, Daan Creemers, Ad Vermulst, Arnt F.A. Schellekens, Gerben J. Westerhof

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background: Perceived well-being is key in the recovery from major depressive disorder (MDD). It is however unclear how well-being relates to other aspects of recovery, like depressive symptom severity, acceptance, disease identification and social participation. In patients with MDD we investigated 1) changes in these five concepts over time, 2) which concepts associate with well-being, and 3) whether a relationship between depressive symptoms and well-being is moderated by acceptance, disease identification and social participation. Methods: Adult outpatients with MDD (n=77) were administered the Mental Health Continuum-Short Form, the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology, the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II, the Pictorial Representation of Illness and Self Measure, and the Scale Functional Remission before treatment and six months later. Changes over time were tested using paired samples t-tests, associations between concepts were tested with correlations. Regression analyses were used to test moderation effects. Results: Participants improved on all outcome measures. Well-being correlated moderately with depressive symptom severity (negative correlation) and acceptance at baseline, and strongly at follow-up. At follow-up well-being also correlated moderately with disease identification and social participation. No evidence for moderation was found. Limitations: Recruitment in one regional mental health center might limit generalizability. Furthermore, confounding effects of psychiatric comorbidity on recovery and well-being cannot be ruled out. Conclusion: Recovery in patients with MDD is associated with improvement on multiple outcome domains. Symptom severity and acceptance showed the strongest association with perceived well-being. Future studies should explore whether treatments targeting symptom severity and acceptance have the strongest impact on recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-659
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Early online date20 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Acceptance
  • Depression
  • Identification
  • Mental health continuum-short form
  • Social participation
  • Well-being

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