Effective and targeted interventions for improving quality of life (QOL) in addition to achieving ‘clinical remission’ are imperatives for patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). This study aimed to examine potential predictors and moderators of QOL in depression. Data were obtained from the Algorithm Guided Treatment Strategies for Major Depressive Disorder (AGTs-MDD) study, a multisite, randomized controlled trial composed of 980 depressed patients. Mixed Model Repeated Measures (MMRM) analyses were conducted to identify baseline characteristics associated with QOL overall (predictors) and their interaction effects (moderators). Severe core depressive, anxiety and pain symptoms were found to be independently associated with poor QOL over the 12-week acute phase treatment. Severe depression, severe anxiety or pain symptoms, or severe suicidal ideation predicted a larger improvement of QOL during acute phase treatment, whereas males showed less improvement. None of the putative moderators were identified except for the educational level. Patients with lower educational level showed a larger improvement of QOL in the AGT started with escitalopram (AGT-E) group and AGT started with mirtazapine (AGT-M) group compared to the treatment as usual (TAU) group. These findings may help to instruct informed decision-making for heterogeneous patients with MDD in the view of full recovery.
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