Previous research suggests that reproductive hormones are potential affective modulators in mood disorders and may influence response to antidepressant medications. To our knowledge, there are no data on relationships between hormonal status and response to psychotherapy for recurrent major depressive disorder (MDD).
At two sites, female outpatients (n=353), aged 18–70, with recurrent MDD received 12–14 weeks of cognitive therapy (CT). Menopausal status and age were based on self-report. In the parent study, nonresponse to therapy was defined as persistence of a major depressive episode (MDE) as defined by the DSM-IV or a final Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression-17-Item (HRSD17) score of ≥ 12 or both. More traditional definitions of response (at least a 50% reduction in pretreatment HRSD17) and remission (a final HRSD17 ≤ 6) were also examined.
Controlling for pretreatment HRSD17 scores, there were no significant differences found in the rates of response to CT or symptom status among premenopausal, perimenopausal, and postmenopausal women.
We found no support for the hypotheses that response to CT or the rates of change in depressive symptoms are moderated by reproductive status. The findings, however, are limited by the absence of early follicular phase serum sampling/analysis to estimate hormone levels and the reliance on self-report to establish menopausal status. These data motivate a full investigation of the effects of reproductive status on response to psychosocial interventions.