Predicting the 9-year course of mood and anxiety disorders with automated machine learning: A comparison between auto-sklearn, naïve Bayes classifier, and traditional logistic regression

Wessel A. van Eeden, Chuan Luo, Albert M. van Hemert, Ingrid V. E. Carlier, Brenda W. Penninx, Klaas J. Wardenaar, Holger Hoos, Erik J. Giltay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Predicting the onset and course of mood and anxiety disorders is of clinical importance but remains difficult. We compared the predictive performances of traditional logistic regression, basic probabilistic machine learning (ML) methods, and automated ML (Auto-sklearn). Methods: Data were derived from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety. We compared how well multinomial logistic regression, a naïve Bayes classifier, and Auto-sklearn predicted depression and anxiety diagnoses at a 2-, 4-, 6-, and 9-year follow up, operationalized as binary or categorical variables. Predictor sets included demographic and self-report data, which can be easily collected in clinical practice at two initial time points (baseline and 1-year follow up). Results: At baseline, participants were 42.2 years old, 66.5% were women, and 53.6% had a current mood or anxiety disorder. The three methods were similarly successful in predicting (mental) health status, with correct predictions for up to 79% (95% CI 75–81%). However, Auto-sklearn was superior when assessing a more complex dataset with individual item scores. Conclusions: Automated ML methods added only limited value, compared to traditional data modelling when predicting the onset and course of depression and anxiety. However, they hold potential for automatization and may be better suited for complex datasets.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113823
JournalPsychiatry Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021


  • Anxiety disorder
  • Depression
  • Epidemiologic methods
  • Logistic models
  • Machine learning
  • Psychiatry
  • Regression analysis

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