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An exploratory statistical approach to depression pattern identification


  • Feng, Qing Yi
  • Griffiths, Frances
  • Parsons, Nick
  • Gunn, Jane


Depression is a complex phenomenon thought to be due to the interaction of biological, psychological and social factors. Currently depression assessment uses self-reported depressive symptoms but this is limited in the degree to which it can characterise the different expressions of depression emerging from the complex causal pathways that are thought to underlie depression. In this study, we aimed to represent the different patterns of depression with pattern values unique to each individual, where each value combines all the available information about an individual’s depression. We considered the depressed individual as a subsystem of an open complex system, proposed Generalized Information Entropy (GIE) to represent the general characteristics of information entropy of the system, and then implemented Maximum Entropy Estimates to derive equations for depression patterns. We also introduced a numerical simulation method to process the depression related data obtained by the Diamond Cohort Study which has been underway in Australia since 2005 involving 789 people. Unlike traditional assessment, we obtained a unique value for each depressed individual which gives an overall assessment of the depression pattern. Our work provides a novel way to visualise and quantitatively measure the depression pattern of the depressed individual which could be used for pattern categorisation. This may have potential for tailoring health interventions to depressed individuals to maximize health benefit.

Suggested Citation

  • Feng, Qing Yi & Griffiths, Frances & Parsons, Nick & Gunn, Jane, 2013. "An exploratory statistical approach to depression pattern identification," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 392(4), pages 889-901.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:phsmap:v:392:y:2013:i:4:p:889-901
    DOI: 10.1016/j.physa.2012.10.025

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Feng, Qing Yi & Chai, Li He, 2008. "A new statistical dynamic analysis on vegetation patterns in land ecosystems," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 387(14), pages 3583-3593.
    2. Pilgrim, David, 2007. "The survival of psychiatric diagnosis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 536-547, August.
    3. Chen, Li Ming & Chai, Li He, 2006. "A theoretical analysis on self-organized formation of microbial biofilms," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 370(2), pages 793-807.
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    Cited by:

    1. Zhao, Jingjing & Chai, Lihe, 2015. "A novel approach for urbanization level evaluation based on information entropy principle: A case of Beijing," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 430(C), pages 114-125.


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