Time-varying exposure and the impact of stressful life events on onset of affective disorder.
Statistics in medicine 2002 ; 21: 2077-91.
Wainwright NW, and Surtees PG
DOI : 10.1002/sim.1159
PubMed ID : 12111888
URL : https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/sim.1159
Stressful life events are now established as risk factors for the onset of affective disorder but few studies have investigated time-varying exposure effects. Discrete (grouped) time survival methods provide a flexible framework for evaluating multiple time-dependent covariates and time-varying covariate effects. Here, we use these methods to investigate the time-varying influence of life events on the onset of affective disorder. Various straightforward time-varying exposure models are compared, involving one or more (stepped) time-dependent covariates and time-dependent covariates constructed or estimated according to exponential decay. These models are applied to data from two quite different studies. The first, a small scale interviewer-based longitudinal study (n = 180) concerned with affective disorder onset following loss (or threat of loss) event experiences. The second, a questionnaire assessment as part of an ongoing population study (n = 3353), provides a history of marital loss events and of depressive disorder onset. From the first study the initial impact of loss events was found to decay with a half-life of 5 weeks. Psychological coping strategy was found to modify vulnerability to the adverse effects of these events. The second study revealed that while men had a lower immediate risk of disorder onset following loss event experience their risk period was greater than for women. Time-varying exposure effects were well described by the appropriate use of simple time-dependent covariates.