BACKGROUND: This study aimed to develop, validate and compare the performance of models predicting post-treatment outcomes for depressed adults based on pre-treatment data.
METHODS: Individual patient data from all six eligible randomised controlled trials were used to develop (k = 3, n = 1722) and test (k = 3, n = 918) nine models. Predictors included depressive and anxiety symptoms, social support, life events and alcohol use. Weighted sum scores were developed using coefficient weights derived from network centrality statistics (models 1-3) and factor loadings from a confirmatory factor analysis (model 4). Unweighted sum score models were tested using elastic net regularised (ENR) and ordinary least squares (OLS) regression (models 5 and 6). Individual items were then included in ENR and OLS (models 7 and 8). All models were compared to one another and to a null model (mean post-baseline Beck Depression Inventory Second Edition (BDI-II) score in the training data: model 9). Primary outcome: BDI-II scores at 3-4 months.
RESULTS: Models 1-7 all outperformed the null model and model 8. Model performance was very similar across models 1-6, meaning that differential weights applied to the baseline sum scores had little impact.
CONCLUSIONS: Any of the modelling techniques (models 1-7) could be used to inform prognostic predictions for depressed adults with differences in the proportions of patients reaching remission based on the predicted severity of depressive symptoms post-treatment. However, the majority of variance in prognosis remained unexplained. It may be necessary to include a broader range of biopsychosocial variables to better adjudicate between competing models, and to derive models with greater clinical utility for treatment-seeking adults with depression.