Transient versus enduring depression among alcoholics in inpatient treatment

Robert C. McMahon, Robert S. Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The purposes of this study are (1) to determine the incidence of significant clinical depression among alcoholics at treatment intake at a Veterans Medical Center, (2) to subdivide alcoholics who show significant clinical depression into enduring and transient depressive subgroups, and (3) to identify demographic and psychometric variables useful in discriminating between these two subgroups. Results indicate that of the 60% of VA inpatient alcoholics who showed evidence of significant clinical depression at intake, approximately equal numbers met criteria for inclusion in transient and enduring depressive subgroups. Patients with enduring and transient depression, as defined in this study, were differentiated on the basis of age, drinking pattern, and selected scales from two psychometric instruments which measure depression, confused and disorganized thinking, and an avoidant personality style. These findings may be useful in assisting clinicians in differentiating between alcoholic patients with transitory depression associated with alcohol consumption and/or withdrawal and alcoholic patients with more serious and enduring depression, which may require additional pharmacologic and/or psychotherapeutic intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-328
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1985


  • alcoholism
  • depression
  • personality
  • subgroups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychology(all)


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