Therrien F, Meehan SR, Weiss C, Dine J, Brown TM, MacKenzie EM. Exploring life engagement from the perspective of patients with major depressive disorder: a study using patient interviews. J Patient Rep Outcomes. 2022 Oct 12;6(1):111. doi: 10.1186/s41687-022-00517-z

BACKGROUND: Patient-reported outcomes can measure health aspects that are meaningful to patients, such as 'life engagement' in major depressive disorder (MDD). Expert psychiatrists recently identified ten items from the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology Self-Report (IDS-SR) that can be used to measure patient life engagement. This study aimed to explore the concept of patient life engagement and provide support for the IDS-SR10 Life Engagement subscale from the patient perspective.

METHODS: Semi-structured video interviews were conducted with adults with MDD in the United States. Patients were asked if they ever felt engaged with life, and how this affected their feelings, activities, socializing, and thoughts. Then, patients discussed the ten expert-selected IDS-SR items, and rated the relevance of all 30 items to patient life engagement on a 4-point scale.

RESULTS: Patients (N = 20) understood the 'engaged with life' concept and could provide examples from their own lives, such as increased energy/motivation (100%), being more social/spending time with others (85%), being more communicative (80%), and having better mood (75%). Nineteen patients (95%) indicated that all ten IDS-SR10 Life Engagement items were relevant to patient life engagement, and nine of the ten items had a mean score ≥ 3 (moderately relevant). Four additional items (all relating to mood) also scored ≥ 3.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients found the concept of life engagement to be important and relatable, and confirmed the IDS-SR10 captures the defining non-mood-related aspects of patient life engagement. This research supports the relevance of patient life engagement as a potential clinical outcome beyond core mood symptoms, and the use of the IDS-SR10 Life Engagement subscale in patient-oriented research.

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