Mood homeostasis associated with mean mood and depression

1. Mood homeostasis, or the preferential ability to engage in adequate mood-modifying behaviors, is associated with mean mood and history of depression.

2. Individuals with low mean mood had significantly lower mood homeostasis scores than those with higher mean moods. This relationship was also found among those who had a history of depression compared to those without such histories.

Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is the world’s leading cause of disability, with increasing evidence of substantial heterogeneity in terms of presentations and treatment outcomes. This examination of two case-control studies of 58,328 participants across countries of low, middle, and high income sought to investigate impaired mood homeostasis and its associations with low mood and a history of MDD. The first data set, (58sec data set) recruited young adults (mean [SD] age = 28.1 [9.0] years, 65.8% female) in high-income francophone countries. The second data set (World Health Organization Study on Global Aging and Adult Health [WHO SAGE] data set) included representative samples from Ghana, China, India, Russia, Mexico, and South Africa (mean [SD] age = 57.8 [14.7] years, 57.0% female). Impaired mood homeostasis was defined as “the extent to which a person preferentially engages in mood-increasing activities such as exercising when their mood is low and saves the mood-decreasing activities such as house-work for when their mood is higher.” Through the use of self-report data pertaining to mood homeostasis, it was determined that participants with low mean mood reported significantly lower levels of mood homeostasis (0.63, 95% CI 0.45 to 0.79) compared to those with high mean mood (0.96, 95% CI 0.96 to 0.98, p<0.001). Individuals with a history of MDD also had lower levels of mood homeostasis (0.03, 95% CI -0.26 to 0.24) than those without a history of MDD (0.68, 95% CI 0.55 to 0.75, p<0.001). Lower mood homeostasis was found to lead to a greater number of depressive episodes (difference 8.0% annual risk, p<0.001) as well as longer durations of these episodes (difference 1.29 weeks, p = 0.006) in dynamic simulations. The findings of this study suggest that mood homeostasis may serve a meaningful role in better understanding the heterogeneity of MDD. Those with a history of MDD and/or low mean mood should be assessed for impaired mood homeostasis.

Click to read the study in JAMA Psychiatry

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