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Depression and anxiety disorders are common at all ages. Approximately one out of three people in the Netherlands will be faced with them at some time during their lives. It is still not clear why some people recover quickly and why others suffer for long periods of time. The Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA) was therefore designed to investigate the course of depression and anxiety disorders over a period of several years. The main aim of NESDA is to determine the (psychological, social, biological and genetic) factors that influence the development and the long-term prognosis of anxiety and depression.

The NESDA cohort

In 2004 we have recruited 2981 participants with and without symptoms from primary care practices and specialised mental health institutions in the regions of Amsterdam and Leiden, and in the provinces of Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland. The ZonMw GeestKracht program has subsidized the study until 2012, after that the study is mainly subsidized by the Amsterdam University Medical Centers Amsterdam (location VUmc), Leiden University Medical Center and University Medical Center Groningen. For more information about our partners view NESDA Consortium.

In January 2019 we started with our 7th measurement, 13 years after the first people were included. In 2014 we added a few smaller studies to NESDA: the sibling study, an extension of our research population with 367 brothers and sisters of NESDA participants, the EMA-study to look at daily fluctuations in mood using smartphones and an extension of our imaging (MRI) study.

Current NESDA cohort: 3348 subjects (2981 + 367 sibs, 67% female, 33% male). Of the 2981 people recruited at baseline (2004), about 2000 people are still participating.


NESDA fully adheres to best-practice FAIR data principles: our data are Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. Available data can be located via a public data listing resource. You can download the table of NESDA instruments including data-codes below. Based on this, researchers can file a data request (analysis plan). Once after review your  analysis plan is approved, access is granted to the requested data. The data can be downloaded from the central NESDA data repository. These data files are available in a standard data format (SPSS), ready for further analysis. The reusability of the NESDA data, and the commitment of the NESDA consortium to long-term data stewardship, is illustrated by the large number of scientific articles that were published in the past two decades.

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