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Little is known about the joint mental health effects of air pollution and tobacco smoking in low- and middle-income countries.
To investigate the effects of exposure to ambient fine particulate matter pollution (PM2.5) and smoking and their combined (interactive) effects on depression.
Multilevel logistic regression analysis of baseline data of a prospective cohort study (n=41785). The 3-year average concentrations of PM2.5 were estimated using US National Aeronautics and Space Administration satellite data, and depression was diagnosed using a standardised questionnaire. Three-level logistic regression models were applied to examine the associations with depression.
The odds ratio (OR) for depression was 1.09 (95% CI 1.01–1.17) per 10 μg/m3 increase in ambient PM2.5, and the association remained after adjusting for potential confounding factors (adjusted OR = 1.10, 95% CI 1.02–1.19). Tobacco smoking (smoking status, frequency, duration and amount) was also significantly associated with depression. There appeared to be a synergistic interaction between ambient PM2.5 and smoking on depression in the additive model, but the interaction was not statistically significant in the multiplicative model.
Our study suggests that exposure to ambient PM2.5 may increase the risk of depression, and smoking may enhance this effect.
Nosological boundaries for depressive disorders as well as the prevalence and impact of ‘subsyndromal’ depression remain unclear.
To examine the impact of subsyndromal depressive disorders on health status and to assess if depressive disorders lie on a continuum of severity.
The sample was composed of randomly selected respondents from the general population in 68 countries from across the world participating in the World Health Organization's World Health Survey.
The pattern of risk factors for depressive disorders was consistent across all types of depression (subsyndromal, brief depressive episode and depressive episode): odds ratios for females ranged between 1.49 and 1.80, and for the unemployed from 1.19 to 1.25. All types of depression produced a significant decrement in health status compared with no depression after controlling for demographic variables, income and country.
Subthreshold depressive disorders occur commonly all across the world and are associated with the same risk factors everywhere. They produce significant decrements in health and do not qualitatively differ from full-blown episodes of depression as currently defined, and lie on a continuum with more severe forms of depressive episodes but are distinct from normal mood changes.
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