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The prevalence of psychiatric disorders in rural Punjab is unknown. Previous studies in rural areas elsewhere in the Indian subcontinent have yielded widely differing estimates.
First-stage screening of a village near Gujar Khan used the Bradford Somatic Inventory and Self Reporting Questionnaire. Psychiatric interviews were conducted with stratified samples using the ICD-10 Diagnostic Criteria for Research.
It is estimated that 66% of women and 25% of men suffered from anxiety and depressive disorders. Levels of emotional distress increased with age in both genders. Women living in unitary households reported more distress than those living in extended or joint families. With younger men and women, lower levels of education were associated with greater risk of psychiatric disorders. Social disadvantage was associated with more emotional distress.
This study in rural Punjab confirms the findings of a previous study in Chitral, northern Pakistan, of high levels of emotional distress and psychiatric morbidity among women in rural areas of Pakistan.
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