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Depression Research and Treatment
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 469680, 7 pages
Review Article

Approaches to Understanding and Addressing Treatment-Resistant Depression: A Scoping Review

1School of Nursing, University of BC, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 2B5
2Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6B 5K3

Received 8 September 2011; Revised 21 February 2012; Accepted 25 February 2012

Academic Editor: Janusz K. Rybakowski

Copyright © 2012 Emily Jenkins and Elliot M. Goldner. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Treatment-resistant depression is associated with significant disability and, due to its high prevalence, results in substantive economic and societal burden at a population level. The objective of this study is to synthesize extant literature on approaches currently being applied to understand and address this condition. It is hoped that the findings can be used to inform practitioners and guide future research. A scoping review of the scientific literature was conducted with findings categorized and charted by underlying research paradigm. Currently, the vast majority of research stems from a biological paradigm (81%). Research on treatment-resistant depression would benefit from a broadened field of study. Given that multiple etiological mechanisms likely contribute to treatment-resistant depression and current efforts at prevention and treatment have substantial room for improvement, an expanded research agenda could more effectively address this significant public health issue.