Major Depression Strongly Linked to Social Conditions

Females twice as likely to suffer from major depressive episodes as males

MONDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Major depressive episode (MDE) is a significant public-health concern across high and low-to-middle-income countries, and it is strongly linked to social conditions, according to a study published online July 26 in BMC Medicine.

Evelyn Bromet, Ph.D., from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and colleagues investigated the prevalence, impairment, and demographic correlates of depression from 10 high- and eight low-to-middle-income countries in the World Mental Health Survey Initiative. Face-to-face interviews were conducted using the World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview to diagnose MDE based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fourth edition (DMS-IV) definition.

The investigators found that the estimated DMS-IV MDE average lifetime and 12-month prevalence in high-income countries was 14.6 and 5.5 percent, respectively, and 11.1 and 5.9 percent, respectively, in low-to-middle-income countries. The average age of onset for MDE was 25.7 and 24.0 years in high- and low-to middle-income countries, respectively. Younger age correlated with higher 12-month prevalence in high-income countries, while older age correlated with greater likelihood of MDE in several low-to-middle-income countries. Functional impairment correlated with MDE recency. Women were twice as likely to suffer from depression as men. In high-income countries, the strongest demographic correlate with MDE was separation from a partner, while in low-to-middle-income countries it was being divorced or widowed.

"MDE is a significant public-health concern across all regions of the world and is strongly linked to social conditions," the authors write.

One of the study authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. The World Mental Health Survey Initiative receives funding from the pharmaceutical industry.

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