Temporal multi-step predictive modeling of remission in major depressive disorder using early stage treatment data; STAR*D based machine learning approach

Haitham Salem, Tung Huynh, Natasha Topolski, Benson Mwangi, Madhukar H. Trivedi, Jair C. Soares, A. John Rush, Sudhakar Selvaraj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Artificial intelligence is currently being used to facilitate early disease detection, better understand disease progression, optimize medication/treatment dosages, and uncover promising novel treatments and potential outcomes. Methods: Utilizing the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) dataset, we built a machine learning model to predict depression remission rates using same clinical data as features for each of the first three antidepressant treatment steps in STAR*D. We only used early treatment data (baseline and first follow up) in each STAR*D step to temporally analyze predictive features of remission at the end of the step. Results: Our model showed significant prediction performance across the three treatment steps, At step 1, Model accuracy was 66 %; sensitivity-65 %, specificity-67 %, positive predictive value (PPV)-65.5 %, and negative predictive value (NPV)-66.6 %. At step 2, model accuracy was 71.3 %, sensitivity-74.3 %, specificity-69 %, PPV-64.5 %, and NPV-77.9 %. At step 3, accuracy reached 84.6 %; sensitivity-69 %, specificity-88.8 %, PPV-67 %, and NPV-91.1 %. Across all three steps, the early Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-Self-Report (QIDS-SR) scores were key elements in predicting the final treatment outcome. The model also identified key sociodemographic factors that predicted treatment remission at different steps. Limitations: The retrospective design, lack of replication in an independent dataset, and the use of “a complete case analysis” model in our analysis. Conclusions: This proof-of-concept study showed that using early treatment data, multi-step temporal prediction of depressive symptom remission results in clinically useful accuracy rates. Whether these predictive models are generalizable deserves further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-293
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
StatePublished - Mar 1 2023


  • Decision trees
  • Depression
  • Machine learning
  • Predictive models
  • Remission
  • Humans
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Machine Learning
  • Citalopram/therapeutic use
  • Antidepressive Agents/therapeutic use
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Depressive Disorder, Major/diagnosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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