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Table 2 Summary of findings on depression

From: Associations between loneliness and perceived social support and outcomes of mental health problems: a systematic review

Reference Predictor variable Outcome variable Results (++ < 0·05 adjusted; + < 0·05 unadjusted; − non-significant)
Hybels et al. (2016) [79] Perceived social support Trajectory class (quick recovery, slow recovery, persistent moderate, and persistent high) ++ Patients in the persistent moderate depression class had lower levels of baseline subjective social support compared with patients in the quick recovery class (OR (95%CI) = 0.91 (0.83, 0.98)). Patients in the persistent high depression class had lower levels of baseline subjective social support compared with those in the quick recovery class (OR (95%CI) = 0.83 (0.75, 0.92))
Holvast et al. (2015) [25] Loneliness Symptom severity;
Remission
++
++
In the fully adjusted model, a 1-point higher baseline loneliness score predicted a 0·61-point higher depressive symptom severity score at follow-up (Beta = 0.61, 95% CI 0.12–1.11, p = 0.02). Logistic regression analysis showed that while adjusting for social network size and potential confounders, the very severely lonely respondents were less likely to achieve remission from their depressive disorder compared with the non-lonely respondents (OR = 0.25, 95% CI 0.08–0.80, p = 0.02).
Holma et al. (2012) [54] Perceived social support Disability pensions + Lower perceived social support at baseline predicted greater likelihood of being granted a disability pension over 5 year follow-up on univariate analysis (p = 0.031), but not significant in multivariate analyses where the outcome was the interval time to the date the pension was granted
Backs-Dermott et al. (2010) [80] Perceived social support Relapse versus stable remitted ++ Lower perceived social support from a significant other (standardized discriminant function coefficient 0.48) and lower perceived social support from friends (standardized coefficient 0.35) at baseline predicted greater likelihood of depressive relapse at one-year follow-up. The Discriminant Function Analysis was significant, Wilk’s Lambda = 0.69, x2 (5) = 16.35, p = 0.006
Bosworth et al. (2008) [81] Perceived social support Depression severity ++ Poorer subjective social support was a significant predictor of more severe depression at 12 months. Standardized beta = − 0.13, p = 0.05
Rytsala et al. (2007) [55] Perceived social support Work disability allowances + Lower perceived social support at 6 month was a significant predictor of greater likelihood of being granted disability allowances at 18 months (F = 6.3, p = 0.013), but not significant in multivariate analysis
Rytsala et al. (2006) [56] Perceived social support Functional disability;
Social and work adjustment; Days spent ill in bed or not
++
++
Lower perceived social support at baseline was a significant predictor of more severe functional disability at 6 months (B = 0.232, β = 0.210, p = 0.002, 95% CI 0.084 to 0.379), and poorer social and work adjustment at 6 months (B = − 0.008, β = − 0.222, p = 0.001, 95% CI -0.013 to − 0.003). Lower perceived social support at 6 months was one of the most significant factors predicting more severe functional disability at 18 months (B = 0.240, β = 0.215, p = 0.002, 95% CI 0.088 to 0.393), and poorer social and work adjustment at 18 months (B = − 0.011, β = − 0.303, p‹0.001, 95% CI -0.015 to − 0.006). But perceived social support did not predict any days spent ill in bed or not
Leskela et al. (2006) [51] Perceived social support Severity of depression + Lower perceived social support at 6 months predicted more severe depression at 18 months in original zero-order correlation (r = − 0.392, p < 0.001) and within-group standardised correlation (r = − 0.230, p = 0.001) among all patients, but not significant in multivariate analysis. In full remission group at 6 months (n = 67), lower perceived social support at 6 months predicted higher level of depressive symptoms at 18 months in multivariate analysis (r = − 0.321, p = 0.012)
Steffens et al. (2005) [82] Perceived social support Severity of depression ++ Lower subjective social support at baseline predicted more severe depression over time (estimate − 0.5641, p = 0.0002)
Ezquiaga et al. (2004) [83] Perceived social support Episode remission Higher perceived social support at baseline did not predict remission at 12 months in univariate analysis (p = 0.33), and it was not included in multivariate analysis
Reference Predictor variable Outcome variable Results (++ < 0·05 adjusted; + < 0·05 unadjusted; − non-significant)
Gasto et al. (2003) [84] Perceived social support Severity of residual symptoms ++ Lower subjective social support at baseline predicted higher intensity of residual symptoms at 9 months in remitters (standardized β = 0.41, p < 0.001)
Bosworth et al. (2002) [53] Perceived social support Time-to-remission ++ Lower subjective social support at baseline (Hazard Ratio = 0.47, 95% CI: 0.31–0.71, p = 0.003) was a significant predictor of longer time to remission
Bosworth et al. (2002) [52] Perceived social support Remission ++ Lower baseline levels of subjective social support (OR = 1.21, 95% CI: 1.09–1.35, p < 0.001) predicted poorer recovery one year later
Triesch (2002) [85] Perceived social support Severity of depressive symptoms;
Quality of life

Lower perceived social support at baseline did not predict more severe depression (β = − 0.17) or poorer quality of life (β = − 0.12) at 3 months
Hays et al. (2001) [57] Perceived social support Activities of daily living ++ There was modest support for hypothesis that baseline subjective social support predicted functional declines at 1 year. There was partial support for hypothesis that the buffering effects of social support against functional decline would be strongest among the most severely depressed patients
Oxman and Hull (2001) [86] Perceived social support Depression severity ++ Greater perceived social support predicted subsequent decreases in depression among participants randomly assigned to placebo group (6-week depression − 0.18, p < 0.05; 11-week depression − 0.22, p < 0.05), but not significant among paroxetine group or Problem-Solving Treatment for Primary Care group
Brummett et al. (2000) [87] Perceived social support Depressive symptoms Higher levels of received support at baseline significantly predicted decreases in depressive symptoms at both 6 months and 1 year, whereas subjective support did not significantly predict changes in depressive symptoms at either point in time
Sherbourne et al. (1995) [88] Perceived social support Number of depressive symptoms ++ Decreased number of depressive symptoms between baseline and 2-year follow-up was predicted by social support at baseline (standardised regression coefficients = 0.12, zero-order Pearson product-moment correlations = 0.16, p < 0.05). Among the subset of patients who had current depressive disorder at baseline, perceived social support was not significantly related to remission. Among patients without current depressive disorder at baseline (subthreshold depression), patients with higher level of perceived social support were less likely to experience a new depressive episode during 2-year period: odds ratio = 0.96 (CI:0.95, 0.98)
Blazer et al. (1992) [49] Perceived social support Decreased life satisfaction symptoms;
Endogenous symptoms
++ Impaired subjective support at baseline was predictive of poorer outcome at 12-month follow-up in both models: decreased life satisfaction symptoms (b = 0.10, B = 0.37, p ≤ 0.001), endogenous symptoms (b = 0.10, B = 0.30, p ≤ 0.01)
Blazer et al. (1991) [89] Perceived social support Depressive symptoms + Intercorrelation between social support at baseline and depression score at 6 months: − 0.41, p < 0.001. Intercorrelation between social support at baseline and depression score at 12 months: − 0.34, p < 0.001
Brugha et al. (1990) [50] Perceived social support Symptom severity ++ After controlling for the two significant clinical predictors, a significant main effect was found in total sample for lower satisfaction with support at baseline on more severe psychiatric status at 4 months (regression coefficient = − 1.46, p < 0.05)
George et al. (1989) [90] Perceived social support Depressive symptoms ++ Impaired subjective social support at baseline is a significant predictor of higher numbers of CES-D symptoms at follow-up (b = 8.88, B = 0.20, p ≤ 0.05)
Krantz and Moos (1988) [91] Perceived social support Remitted, partially remitted, and nonremitted + Lower quality of relationships at baseline predicted poorer remission status after 1 year (χ2 = 10.21, p < 0.01)