A Narrative Review of Network Studies in Depression: What Different Methodological Approaches Tell Us About Depression

Marieke Wichers, Harriëtte Riese, Taylor M Hodges, Evelien Snippe, Fionneke M Bos*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

Onderzoeksoutput: Review articlepeer review

8 Citaten (Scopus)
40 Downloads (Pure)


The network theory of psychopathology proposes that mental disorders arise from direct interactions between symptoms. This theory provides a promising framework to understand the development and maintenance of mental disorders such as depression. In this narrative review, we summarize the literature on network studies in the field of depression. Four methodological network approaches are distinguished: (i) studies focusing on symptoms at the macro-level vs. (ii) on momentary states at the micro-level, and (iii) studies based on cross-sectional vs. (iv) time-series (dynamic) data. Fifty-six studies were identified. We found that different methodological approaches to network theory yielded largely inconsistent findings on depression. Centrality is a notable exception: the majority of studies identified either positive affect or anhedonia as central nodes. To aid future research in this field, we outline a novel complementary network theory, the momentary affect dynamics (MAD) network theory, to understand the development of depression. Furthermore, we provide directions for future research and discuss if and how networks might be used in clinical practice. We conclude that more empirical network studies are needed to determine whether the network theory of psychopathology can indeed enhance our understanding of the underlying structure of depression and advance clinical treatment.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's16
TijdschriftFrontiers in Psychiatry
StatusPublished - 28-okt.-2021

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