Measurement and genetic architecture of lifetime depression in the Netherlands as assessed by LIDAS (Lifetime Depression Assessment Self-report)

Iryna O Fedko, Jouke-Jan Hottenga, Quinta Helmer, Hamdi Mbarek, Najaf Amin, Joline W Beulens, Marijke A Bremmer, Petra J Elders, Tessel E Galesloot, Lambertus A Kiemeney, Hanna M van Loo, H Susan J Picavet, Femke Rutters, Ashley van der Spek, Anne M van de Wiel, Cornelia van Duijn, Eco J C de Geus, Edith J M Feskens, Catharina A Hartman, Albertine J OldehinkelJan H Smit, W M Monique Verschuren, Brenda W J H Penninx, Dorret I Boomsma, Mariska Bot

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BACKGROUND: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common mood disorder, with a heritability of around 34%. Molecular genetic studies made significant progress and identified genetic markers associated with the risk of MDD; however, progress is slowed down by substantial heterogeneity as MDD is assessed differently across international cohorts. Here, we used a standardized online approach to measure MDD in multiple cohorts in the Netherlands and evaluated whether this approach can be used in epidemiological and genetic association studies of depression.

METHODS: Within the Biobank Netherlands Internet Collaboration (BIONIC) project, we collected MDD data in eight cohorts involving 31 936 participants, using the online Lifetime Depression Assessment Self-report (LIDAS), and estimated the prevalence of current and lifetime MDD in 22 623 unrelated individuals. In a large Netherlands Twin Register (NTR) twin-family dataset (n ≈ 18 000), we estimated the heritability of MDD, and the prediction of MDD in a subset (n = 4782) through Polygenic Risk Score (PRS).

RESULTS: Estimates of current and lifetime MDD prevalence were 6.7% and 18.1%, respectively, in line with population estimates based on validated psychiatric interviews. In the NTR heritability estimates were 0.34/0.30 (s.e. = 0.02/0.02) for current/lifetime MDD, respectively, showing that the LIDAS gives similar heritability rates for MDD as reported in the literature. The PRS predicted risk of MDD (OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.15-1.32, R2 = 1.47%).

CONCLUSIONS: By assessing MDD status in the Netherlands using the LIDAS instrument, we were able to confirm previously reported MDD prevalence and heritability estimates, which suggests that this instrument can be used in epidemiological and genetic association studies of depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1345-1354
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological Medicine
Issue number8
Early online date27 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Lifetime Depression Assessment Self-report
  • major depressive disorder
  • online assessment tool
  • prevalence

Cohort Studies

  • Netherlands Twin Register (NTR)

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