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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: June 2012

Part II - The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness


An important issue in assessing the societal burden of mental disorders is whether the evidence of increasing prevalence in recent cohorts is real or a methodological artifact. The chapter begins with a broad overview of results concerning the estimated lifetime prevalence, age-of-onset distributions, projected lifetime risk, cohort effects, and sociodemographic correlates of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual DSM-IV disorders assessed in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). It then turns to a discussion of the prevalence of these same disorders in the year before the NCS-R interview. This is followed by a brief review of data regarding trends in disorder prevalence and treatment in the NCS-R compared to a decade earlier in the baseline NCS. The chapter closes with a discussion of interpretations and implications of these results along with anticipated future directions in the investigation of the prevalence of mental disorders.