Quality of life in outpatients with depression in China

Qingzhi Zeng, Yifeng Xu, Wei Chun Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background Quality of life (QOL) is an important outcome measure for patients with depression, but QOL research involving large samples of patients has been uncommon. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the QOL of Chinese outpatients with depression and its determinants. Methods Using a cross-sectional survey design, data were collected continuously from 19,984 outpatients; 19,950 usable questionnaires were obtained. Along with the QOL index (WHOQOL-BREF), the questionnaire also included participants' sociodemographic characteristics, outpatient visits, and medication use information. Results Less than 5% of depressed patients reported "good" or "very good" QOL, while less than 3% were satisfied with their general health. The overall score was low (54.12); four QOL domain (physical health, psychological, social relationships, and environment) scores (range, 35.03-40.10) were significantly lower than in other community population surveys. QOL scores were significantly lower among first-visit than non-first-visit patients. Medication users reported significantly higher QOL scores than non-users, with NaSSA more effective than SSRIs, followed by other types, SNRIs, and no medication, in that order. Limitations Since this was an observational, cross-sectional survey with continuous outpatient data collection method instead of random sampling, generalization of the results is limited, and causality cannot be determined. However, the "natural" observational design, large sample size, and similarity in findings with other studies reveal the "real world" QOL of depressed outpatients in mainland China. Conclusions Depressed patients had a low QOL, and the scores of first-visit patients with severe symptoms were significantly lower than non-first-visit patients. Though medication can improve patients' QOL, different types of medications have different impacts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-521
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Outpatients with depression
  • Quality of life
  • First-visit patients
  • Antidepressant

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