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date: 26 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines environmental risk and protection for depression from two seemingly contradictory vantage points: depression commonly arises in response to environmental adversity, but depression also arises without any apparent environmental adversity. Preliminary considerations are reviewed initially to provide a context for evaluating the current empirical evidence on life stress as a risk factor for the onset of depression. Particular attention is paid to the potential importance of recurrences of depression to help explain the presence and absence of major life stress prior to episode onset.   Alternative models are then considered that potentially can reconcile the seemingly inconsistent sets of observations regarding life stress and the onset of a depressive episode. The research literature is presented in light of these models. Finally, the relations of other environmental risk and protection factors with life stress and depression are discussed, as well as the implications for future research.

Keywords: major depression, unipolar depression, recurrence, life stress, life events, life course

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