Meta-analysis of depressive symptoms in dual-diagnosis schizophrenia

Stéphane Potvin, Amir Ali Sepehry, Emmanuel Stip

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Substance abuse is highly prevalent in schizophrenia and associated with numerous negative consequences. While studies have regularly reported more severe depressive symptoms in addicted schizophrenia patients relative to non-abusing patients, some studies have not corroborated this finding. The current meta-analysis was performed to quantify the relative severity of depressive symptoms in dual-diagnosis schizophrenia. A search of the literature using computerized engines was undertaken. Studies were retained in the analysis if (i) they assessed depressive symptoms using validated scales specific to depression (e.g. Hamilton Depression Rating Scale); and (ii) groups of schizophrenia patients were divided according to substance use disorders (alcohol, amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin and/or phencyclidine). According to the inclusion criteria, 20 studies were available for mathematical analysis. A small, positive and significant effect size estimate (n =3283; 1680 dual diagnosis; 1603 single diagnosis; adjusted Hedges's g = 0.292; p = 0.003) was obtained, within a random-effect model, suggesting that some dual-diagnosis patients experience more severe depressive symptoms than single-diagnosis patients. This significant difference was found only for studies using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale but not for other depression scales. The results of the present meta-analysis suggest that addicted schizophrenia patients experience more severe depressive symptoms compared to non-abusing patients, but that the difference is smaller than commonly assumed. The meta-analysis also shows that the significance of results is related to the scale used to measure depressive symptoms. These results have methodological implications for future studies of depressive symptoms in dual-diagnosis patients, and potential implications for the prevention and treatment of depressive symptoms in schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)792-799
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Meta-analysis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Substance-related disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Meta-analysis of depressive symptoms in dual-diagnosis schizophrenia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this