The results were recently published of research on the global prevalence of depressive disorder, its demographic risk factors and the functional limitations that result from depression.
The researchers made use of data from 89,000 respondents from 18 western and non-western countries that participated in the WHO World Mental Health Surveys. This is a worldwide psychiatric-epidemiological study of the general population, including the Netherlands. The same questionnaire was used in all the countries in order to establish the prevalence of mental health disorders, including depression. In the Netherlands, the project was managed by the Trimbos Institute and the University of Groningen.
14.6% of the population in western countries had ever experienced depressive disorder, defined as DSM-IV, in their lifetime; in non-western countries, the percentage was 11.1%. Prevalence of depressive disorder in the past 12 months was 5.5% and 5.9% respectively.
The average age of onset for the disorder was 25.7 in western countries and 24.0 in non-western countries. Depression occurred in females twice as often as in males. In western countries, depression was associated with younger age, whereas in non-western countries the opposite was the case.
Functional limitations caused by depression were more common if the depression had occurred more recently. The authors concluded that despite there being differences between the countries in the prevalence of depressive disorder, the ensuing limitations were considerable across countries.
The research results were published in BMC Medicine.
Bromet E, Andrade LH, Hwang I, Sampson NA, Alonso J, de Girolamo G, de Graaf R, Demyttenaere K, Hu C, Iwata N, Kaur J, Karam AN, Kostyuchenko S, Lepine JP, Levinson D, Matschinger H, Medina Mora ME, Oakley Browne M, Posada-Villa J, Viana MC, Williams DR, Kessler RC. Cross-National Epidemiology of DSM-IV Major Depressive Episode. BMC Medicine 2011; 9: 90.
More information: Ron de Graaf