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Little is known about the outcome of common mental disorders (CMD) in primary care attenders in low income countries.
Two and 12 month (T1 and T2) follow-up of a cohort of cases of CMD (n=199) recruited from primary health, traditional medical practitioner, and general practitioner clinics in Harare, Zimbabwe. The Shona Symptom Questionnaire (SSQ) was the measure of caseness.
The persistence of case level morbidity was recorded in 41% of subjects at 12 months. Of the 134 subjects interviewed at both follow-up points, 49% had recovered by T1 and remained well at T2 while 28% were persistent cases at both T1 and T2. Higher SSQ scores, a psychological illness model, bereavement and disability predicted a poor outcome at both times. Poorer outcome at T1 only was associated with a causal model of witch-craft and an unhappy childhood. Caseness at follow-up was associated with disability and economic deprivation.
A quarter of cases of CMD were likely to be ill throughout the 12 month follow-up period. Targeting risk groups for poor outcome for interventions and policy interventions to reduce the impact of economic deprivation may provide a way of tackling CMD in primary care in low income countries.
This study aimed to investigate the associations for common mental disorders (CMD) among primary care attenders in Harare.
This was an unmatched case-control study of attenders at primary health clinics, general practitioner surgeries and traditional medical practitioner clinics; 199 cases with CMD as identified by an indigenously developed case-finding questionnaire, and 197 controls (non-cases), were interviewed using measures of sociodemographic data, disability, care-giver diagnoses and treatment, explanatory models, life events and alcohol use.
CMD was associated with female gender (.=0.04) and older age (.=0.02). After adjustment for age, gender and site of recruitment, CMD was significantly associated with chronicity of illness; number of presenting complaints; beliefs in “thinking too much” and witchcraft as a causal model; economic impoverishment; infertility; recent unemployment; an unhappy childhood for females; disability; and consultations with traditional medical practitioners and religious priests.
Mental disorders are associated with female gender, disability, economic deprivation, and indigenous labels of distress states.
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