Skip to main content Accessibility help

Epidemiology of mental disorders in Camberwell

  • Paul Bebbington (a1), Jane Hurry (a1), Christopher Tennant (a1), Elizabeth Sturt (a1) and J. K. Wing (a1)...


A two-stage psychiatric survey of a random sample of adults aged 18–64 from Camberwell is described. Agency interviewers carried out the first stage (N = 800), using the shorter form of the Present State Examination (PSE). MRC interviewers, using the full PSE, saw a stratified sample of these (N = 310) in the second stage. A second interview was sought with all those of Index of Definition (ID) level 5 and above at the first interview (‘cases’) and with a random sample of those below that level. 20·9% refused or were never available for the first interview. Of the 800 subjects successfully interviewed, 10% refused a further interview and 12·4% of those finally selected for this interview were either unavailable or changed their minds. The MRC data, weighted to represent the whole sample, are used in our analyses. The prevalence of psychiatric disorder as defined in our study was calculated at 6·1% for men and 14·9% for women. Women shared a higher prevalence of disorder in the age-groups 25–34 and 45–54, but in men there was no significant association with age.

In contrast to the findings of Brown & Harris (1978), social class did not have a strong association with disorder. Single men had much higher rates than married men, while the reverse was true in women. In both sexes employment was associated with lower rates of disorder. An attempt to explain the high prevalence in women in terms of their role in marriage and child-care was only partly successful.


Corresponding author

1Address for correspondence: Dr Paul Bebbington, MRC Social Psychiatry Unit, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF.


Hide All
Aitken, M. (1979). A simultaneous test procedure for contingency table models. Applied Statistics 28, 233242.
Bagley, C. (1973). Occupational class and symptoms of depression. Social Science and Medicine 7, 327339.
Bebbington, P. E. (1978). The epidemiology of depressive disorder. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 2, 297341.
Bebbington, P. E., Hurry, J. & Tennant, C. (1981). Psychiatric disorders in selected immigrant groups in Camberwell. Social Psychiatry 16, 4351.
Benfari, R. C., Beiser, M., Leighton, A. H. & Mertens, C. (1972). Some dimensions of psychoneurotic behaviour in an urban sample. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 155, 7790.
Blumenthal, M. D. & Dielman, T. E. (1975). Depressive symptomatology and role function in a general population. Archives of General Psychiatry 32, 985991.
Blyth, W. G. & Marchant, L. J. (1973). A self-weighting random sampling technique. Journal of the Market Research Society 15, 157162.
Brown, G. W. & Harris, T. O. (1978). Social Origins of Depression: A Study of Psychiatric Disorder in Women. Tavistock: London.
Brown, G. W., Harris, T. O. & Copeland, J. R. (1977 a). Depression and loss. British Journal of Psychiatry 130 118.
Brown, G. W., Davidson, S., Harris, T., MacLean, U., Pollock, S. & Prudo, R. (1977 b). Psychiatric disorder in London and North Uist. Social Science and Medicine 11, 367377.
Catalano, R. & Dooley, C. D. (1977). Economic predictions of depressed mood and stressful life events in a metropolitan community. Journal of Health and Social Behaviour 18, 292307.
Cochrane, R. & Stopes-Roe, M. (1980). Factors affecting the distribution of psychological symptoms in urban areas of England. Acta psychiatrica scandinavica 61, 445460.
Comstock, G. W. & Helsing, K. J. (1976). Symptoms of depression in two communities. Psychological Medicine 6, 551563.
Dohrenwend, B. P. & Dohrenwend, B. S. (1969). Social Status and Psychological Disorder: A Causal Inquiry. Wiley: New York.
Essen-Möller, E. (1956). Individual traits and morbidity in a Swedish rural population. Acta psychiatrica et neurologica scandinavica Supplementum 100.
Goldberg, D. P. (1972). The Detection of Psychiatric Illness by Questionnaire. Maudsley Monograph no. 21. Oxford University Press: London.
Goldthorpe, J. & Hope, K. (1974). The Social Grading of Occupations: A New Approach and Scale. Oxford University Press: London.
Grad, de Alarcón J., Sainsbury, P. & Costain, W. R. (1975). Incidence of referred mental illness in Chichester and Salisbury. Psychological Medicine 5, 3254.
Hallström, T. (1970). Depressions among women in Gothenburg: an epidemiological study. Acta psychiatrica scandinavica Supplementum 217, 2526.
Hare, E. H. & Shaw, G. K. (1965). Mental Health on a New Housing Estate: A Comparative Study of Health in two Districts in Croydon. Maudsley Monograph no. 12. Oxford University Press: London.
Henderson, S., Duncan-Jones, P., Byrne, D. G., Scott, R. & Adcock, S. (1979). Psychiatric disorders in Canberra: a standardised study of prevalence. Acta psychiatrica scandinavica 60, 355374.
Hurry, J. & Sturt, E. (1981). Social performance in a population sample: relation to psychiatric symptoms. In The Concept of a Case: Theory and Method in Psychiatric Community Surveys (ed. Wing, J. K., Bebbington, P. E. and Robins, L.), pp. 202213. Grant MacIntyre: London.
Hurry, J., Tennant, C. & Bebbington, P. E. (1980). The selective factors leading to psychiatric referral. Acta psychiatrica scandinavica Supplementum 285, 315324.
Jahoda, M. (1979). The impact of unemployment in the 1930s and the 1970s. Bulletin of the British Psychological Society 32, 309314.
Kasl, S. W., Gore, S. & Cobb, S. (1975). The experience of losing a job: reported changes in health, symptoms and illness behaviour. Psychosomatic Medicine 37, 106122.
Leighton, A. H., Lambo, T. A., Hughes, C. C., Leighton, D. C., Murphy, J. M. & Macklin, D. B. (1963). Psychiatric Disorder among the Yoruba. Cornell University Press: Ithaca, N.Y.
Leighton, D. C., Harding, J. S., Macklin, D. B., MacMillan, A. M. & Leighton, A. H. (1963). The Character of Danger (Stirling County Study Vol. 3). Basic Books: New York.
Mellinger, G. D., Valter, M. B., Parry, H. J., Manheimer, D. I. & Cisin, I. H. (1974). An overview of psychotherápeutic drug use in the United States. In Drug Use: Epidemiological and Sociological Approaches (ed. Josephson, E. and Carroll, E.), pp. 333366. Hemisphere: New York.
Mostow, E. & Newberry, P. (1975). Work role and depression in women: a comparison of workers and housewives in treatment. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 45, 538548.
Newberry, P., Weissman, M. M. & Myers, J. K. (1979). Working wives and housewives: do they differ in mental status and social adjustment? American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 49, 282291.
Newson-Smith, J. G. & Hirsch, S. R. (1979). Psychiatric symptoms in self-poisoning patients. Psychological Medicine 9, 493500.
OPCS (1970). Classification of Occupations, 1970. HMSO: London.
Orley, J. & Wing, J. K. (1979). Psychiatric disorders in two African villages. Archives of General Psychiatry 36, 513520.
Pearlin, L. I. (1975). Sex roles and depression. In Normative Life Crises. Proceedings of the Fourth Life-Span Developmental Psychology Conference (ed. Datan, N. and Ginsberg, L.), pp. 191207. Academic Press: New York.
Radloff, L. (1975). Sex differences in depression: the effects of occupation and marital status. Sex Roles 1, 249265.
Shepherd, M. & Gruenberg, E. M. (1957). The age for neurosis. Millbank Memorial Fund Quarterly 35, 258265.
Slater, E. & Woodside, M. (1951). Patterns of Marriage: A Study of Marriage Relationships in the Urban Working Classes. Cassell: London.
Srole, L., Langner, T., Michael, S. T., Opler, M. K. & Rennie, T. A. C. (1962). Mental Health in the Metropolis. McGraw-Hill: New York.
Sturt, E., Bebbington, P. E., Hurry, J. & Tennant, C. (1981). The Present State Examination used by interviewers from a Survey Agency: Report from the Camberwell Community Survey. Psychological Medicine 11, 185192.
Taylor, , Lord, & Chave, S. (1964). Mental Health and Environment. Longman Green: London.
Tennant, C., Hurry, J. & Bebbington, P. E. (1980). Parent–child separations during childhood: their relation to adult psychiatric morbidity and to psychiatric referral. Acta psychiatrica scandinavica Supplementum 285, 324331.
Tennant, C., Smith, A., Bebbington, P. & Hurry, J. (1981). Parental loss in childhood, adult psychiatric impairment and contact with psychiatric services. Archives of General Psychiatry (in the press).
Uhlenhuth, E. H., Lipmann, R. S., Balter, M. B. & Stern, M. (1974). Symptom intensity and life stress in the city. Archives of General Psychiatry 31, 759764.
Väisänen, E. (1975). Psychiatric disorders in Finland. Acta psychiatrica scandinavica Supplementum 263, 2233.
Warheit, G. J., Holzer, C. E. & Schwab, J. J. (1973). An analysis of social class and racial differences in depressive symptomatology: a community study. Journal of Health and Social Behaviour 14, 291295.
Watts, F. N. & Bennett, D. H. (1977). Previous occupational stability as a predictor of employment after psychiatric rehabilitation. Psychological Medicine 7, 709712.
Weissman, M. M. & Klerman, G. L. (1977). Sex differences and the epidemiology of depression. Archives of General Psychiatry 34, 98112.
Weissman, M. M. & Myers, J. (1978 a). Rates and risks of depressive symptoms in a United States urban community. Acta psychiatrica scandinavica 57, 219231.
Weissman, M. M. & Myers, J. (1978 b). Affective disorders in a United States urban community: the use of Research Diagnostic Criteria in an epidemiological survey. Archives of General Psychiatry 35, 13041314.
Weissman, M. M. & Paykel, E. S. (1974). The Depressed Woman: A Study of Social Relationships. University of Chicago Press: Chicago.
Wing, J. K. (1980 a). Methodological issues in psychiatric case identification. Psychological Medicine 10, 510.
Wing, J. K. (1980 b). The use of the Present State Examination in General Population Surveys. Acta psychiatrica scandinavica Supplementum 285, 230240.
Wing, J. K. & Bransby, E. R. (1970). Psychiatric Case Registers. DHSS Statistical Report Series no. 8. HMSO: London.
Wing, J. K. & Fryers, T. (1976). Psychiatric Services in Camberwell and Salford: Statistics from the Camberwell and Salford Psychiatric Registers, 19641974. MRC Social Psychiatry Unit: London.
Wing, J. K. & Sturt, E. (1978). The PSE–ID–CATEGO System. Supplementary Manual. MRC Social Psychiatry Unit: London.
Wing, J. K., Cooper, J. E. & Sartorius, N. (1974). The Measurement and Classification of Psychiatric Symptoms. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
Wing, J. K., Henderson, A. S. & Winkle, M. (1977). The rating of symptoms by a psychiatrist and a non-psychiatrist: a study of patients referred from general practice. Psychological Medicine 7, 713715.
Wing, J. K., Mann, S. A., Leff, J. P. & Nixon, J. M. (1978). The concept of a case in psychiatric population surveys. Psychological Medicine 8, 203218.
Wing, J. K., Bebbington, P. E., Hurry, J. & Tennant, C. (1981). The prevalence in the general population of disorders familiar to psychiatrists in hospital practice. In The Concept of a Case: Theory and Method in Psychiatric Community Surveys (ed. Wing, J. K., Bebbington, P. E. and Robins, L.), pp. 4561. Grant MacIntyre: London.
Wing, L., Wing, J. K., Stevens, B. & Griffiths, D. (1972). An epidemiological and experimental evaluation of industrial rehabilitation of chronic psychotic patients in the community. In Evaluating a Community Psychiatric Service (ed. Wing, J. K. and Hailey, A. M.), pp. 283308. Oxford University Press: London.
World Health Organization (1978). Mental Disorders: Glossary and Guide to their Classification in accordance with the Ninth Revision of the International Classification of Diseases. WHO: Geneva.


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed