Context: There is a high prevalence of depressive disorders in women and various social and environmental factors associated with the onset of the disease, but studies in populations using Mental Health Services are scarce.
Objectives: Determine, in a clinical population of adult women, the association between depressive disorders and sociodemographic factors, the time between the onset of complaints and psychotherapy screening, and triggers (number, type and classified by Interpersonal Theory).
Methods: Cross-sectional data of 822 women (18 and older) attending Psychotherapy at the Psychiatric Service of North Lisbon Hospital Center in Portugal. Triggering factors were obtained using the question: "What factors do you consider contributed to the difficulties experienced?". Descriptive statistics, Chi-square tests to study the association with psychiatric diagnosis groups, ANOVA to test differences in average age and post hoc Scheffe were calculated.
Results: This study demonstrates the association between different depressive disorders and sociodemographic and clinical variables. The most frequent triggers were role transitions, particularly physical illness, both personal and from a family member, and interpersonal disputes, namely family and marital conflicts and professional problems. There is a statistically significant association between the type of diagnosis and both interpersonal conflicts and the number of triggers.
Conclusions: Depressive main triggers must be taken into account to outline psychotherapeutic interventions and to define prevention strategies.