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Evidence about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of specific subpopulations, such as university students, is needed as communities prepare for future waves.
To study the association of proximity of COVID-19 with symptoms of anxiety and depression in university students.
This trend study analysed weekly cross-sectional surveys of probabilistic samples of students from the University of British Columbia for 13 weeks, through the first wave of COVID-19. The main variable assessed was propinquity of COVID-19, defined as ‘knowing someone who tested positive for COVID-19’, which was specified at different levels: knowing someone anywhere globally, in Canada, in Vancouver, in their course or at home. Proximity was included in multivariable linear regressions to assess its association with primary outcomes, including 30-day symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.
Of 1388 respondents (adjusted response rate of 50%), 5.6% knew someone with COVID-19 in Vancouver, 0.8% in their course and 0.3% at home. Ten percent were overwhelmed and unable to access help. Knowing someone in Vancouver was associated with an 11-percentage-point increase in the probability of 30-day anxiety symptoms (s.e. 0.05, P ≤ 0.05), moderated by gender, with a significant interaction of the exposure and being female (coefficient −20, s.e. 0.09, P ≤ 0.05). No association was found with depressive symptoms.
Propinquity of COVID-19 cases may increase the likelihood of anxiety symptoms in students, particularly among men. Most students reported coping well, but additional support is needed for an emotionally overwhelmed minority who report being unable to access help.
Depressive and anxiety disorders are highly comorbid, which has been theorized to be due to an underlying internalizing vulnerability. We aimed to identify groups of participants with differing vulnerabilities by examining the course of internalizing psychopathology up to age 45.
We used data from 24158 participants (aged 45+) in 23 population-based cross-sectional World Mental Health Surveys. Internalizing disorders were assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). We applied latent class growth analysis (LCGA) and investigated the characteristics of identified classes using logistic or linear regression.
The best-fitting LCGA solution identified eight classes: a healthy class (81.9%), three childhood-onset classes with mild (3.7%), moderate (2.0%), or severe (1.1%) internalizing comorbidity, two puberty-onset classes with mild (4.0%) or moderate (1.4%) comorbidity, and two adult-onset classes with mild comorbidity (2.7% and 3.2%). The childhood-onset severe class had particularly unfavorable sociodemographic outcomes compared to the healthy class, with increased risks of being never or previously married (OR = 2.2 and 2.0, p < 0.001), not being employed (OR = 3.5, p < 0.001), and having a low/low-average income (OR = 2.2, p < 0.001). Moderate or severe (v. mild) comorbidity was associated with 12-month internalizing disorders (OR = 1.9 and 4.8, p < 0.001), disability (B = 1.1–2.3, p < 0.001), and suicidal ideation (OR = 4.2, p < 0.001 for severe comorbidity only). Adult (v. childhood) onset was associated with lower rates of 12-month internalizing disorders (OR = 0.2, p < 0.001).
We identified eight transdiagnostic trajectories of internalizing psychopathology. Unfavorable outcomes were concentrated in the 1% of participants with childhood onset and severe comorbidity. Early identification of this group may offer opportunities for preventive interventions.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Shortfalls in treatment quantity and quality are well-established, but the specific gaps in pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy are poorly understood. This paper analyzes the gap in treatment coverage for MDD and identifies critical bottlenecks.
Seventeen surveys were conducted across 15 countries by the World Health Organization-World Mental Health Surveys Initiative. Of 35 012 respondents, 3341 met DSM-IV criteria for 12-month MDD. The following components of effective treatment coverage were analyzed: (a) any mental health service utilization; (b) adequate pharmacotherapy; (c) adequate psychotherapy; and (d) adequate severity-specific combination of both.
MDD prevalence was 4.8% (s.e., 0.2). A total of 41.8% (s.e., 1.1) received any mental health services, 23.2% (s.e., 1.5) of which was deemed effective. This 90% gap in effective treatment is due to lack of utilization (58%) and inadequate quality or adherence (32%). Critical bottlenecks are underutilization of psychotherapy (26 percentage-points reduction in coverage), underutilization of psychopharmacology (13-point reduction), inadequate physician monitoring (13-point reduction), and inadequate drug-type (10-point reduction). High-income countries double low-income countries in any mental health service utilization, adequate pharmacotherapy, adequate psychotherapy, and adequate combination of both. Severe cases are more likely than mild-moderate cases to receive either adequate pharmacotherapy or psychotherapy, but less likely to receive an adequate combination.
Decision-makers need to increase the utilization and quality of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy. Innovations such as telehealth for training and supervision plus non-specialist or community resources to deliver pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy could address these bottlenecks.
The Leuven Affect and Pleasure Scale (LAPS) was developed as an outcome measure in major depressive disorder (MDD) tha treflects patient treatment expectations. The present report investigates whether the LAPS negative affect, the LAPS positive affect, and the LAPS hedonic tone have added value on top of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD) in explaining generic as well as patient-centered outcomes.
A total of 109 outpatients with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition, criteria for MDD were assessed over 8 weeks of antidepressant treatment. At baseline and after 2, 4, and 8 weeks, the LAPS, HAMD, Snaith–Hamilton Pleasure Scale (SHAPS), Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS), and Sheehan Disability Scale were administered. The Clinical Global Impression of Improvement (CGI-I) and the Patient Global Impression of Improvement (PGI-I) were also administered at endpoint.
Changes in LAPS negative affect, LAPS positive affect, and LAPS hedonic tone explain 14% of the additional variance in CGI-I, 21% in PGI-I, 37% in cognitive functioning, 32% in overall functioning, 31% in “my life is meaningful,” and 45% in “I feel happy.” Compared to standard scales (PANAS and SHAPS), the LAPS negative affect, LAPS positive affect, and LAPS hedonic tone differentiate better between different levels of CGI-I or PGI-I.
The LAPS has added value (on top of the HAMD) in explaining changes in both generic outcomes (CGI-I/PGI-I) and patient-centered dimensions. The LAPS negative and positive affects and the LAPS hedonic tone differentiate CGI-I and PGI-I scores better than corresponding scales supposed to cover the same domains.
The Leuven Affect and Pleasure Scale (LAPS) is a depression outcome measure aiming to better reflect patient treatment expectations. We investigated the evolution of the LAPS and some comparator scales during antidepressant treatment and compared scores of remitters with scores of healthy controls.
Methods. A total of 109 outpatients with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5) major depressive disorder were assessed over 8 weeks of antidepressant treatment. At baseline and after 2, 4, and 8 weeks, the LAPS as well as the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD), the Snaith–Hamilton Pleasure Scale (SHAPS), the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS), and the Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS) were administered. Healthy controls consisted of 38 Italian adults and 111 Belgian students.
Correlations between baseline positive and negative affect were only moderate (R between −0.20 and −0.41). LAPS positive affect and hedonic tone showed higher correlations with LAPS cognitive functioning, overall functioning, meaningfulness of life, and happiness than HAMD scores or PANAS negative affect. HAMD remission was associated with normal levels of LAPS negative affect but with significantly lower levels of LAPS positive affect, hedonic tone, cognitive functioning, overall functioning, meaningfulness of life, and happiness. The scores on the latter subscales only reached healthy control scores when the HAMD approached a score of 0 or 1.
The standard definition of remission (HAMD cutoff of 7) is probably adequate for remitting negative mood, but not good enough for recovering positive mood, hedonic tone, functioning, or meaningfulness of life.
The purpose of this study is to examine the association between non-psychotic serious mental disorders and earnings in the general population of Belgium on both the individual- and society-level.
Subjects and methods
Data stem from a cross-sectional population study of the non-institutionalized adult (between 18 and 64) population from Belgium (N = 863). The third version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI-3.0) was administered to assess 12-month non-psychotic serious mental disorders and annual earnings. Multivariate approaches were used to estimate the observed and estimated annual earnings for persons with serious mental disorders, controlling for sociodemographic variables and alcohol disorders.
On the individual-level, 12-month serious mental disorders significantly predicted the probability of having any earnings (OR = 0.32; 95%CI = 0.14–0.74). Respondents with serious mental disorders had 12-month earnings of 5969€ less than expected in the absence of serious mental disorders. Taking into account the prevalence of serious mental disorders (i.e. 4.9%), the society-level effects of serious mental disorders in 2002 can be estimated at about 1797 million € per year for the Belgian general population.
Non-psychotic serious mental disorders had considerable impact on annual earnings.
This is the first study in Belgium that addresses the association between mental illness and earnings. Serious mental disorders are associated with individual- and societal-level impairments and loss of human capital.
Previous work has identified associations between psychotic experiences (PEs) and general medical conditions (GMCs), but their temporal direction remains unclear as does the extent to which they are independent of comorbid mental disorders.
In total, 28 002 adults in 16 countries from the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys were assessed for PEs, GMCs and 21 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) mental disorders. Discrete-time survival analyses were used to estimate the associations between PEs and GMCs with various adjustments.
After adjustment for comorbid mental disorders, temporally prior PEs were significantly associated with subsequent onset of 8/12 GMCs (arthritis, back or neck pain, frequent or severe headache, other chronic pain, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and peptic ulcer) with odds ratios (ORs) ranging from 1.3 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1–1.5] to 1.9 (95% CI 1.4–2.4). In contrast, only three GMCs (frequent or severe headache, other chronic pain and asthma) were significantly associated with subsequent onset of PEs after adjustment for comorbid GMCs and mental disorders, with ORs ranging from 1.5 (95% CI 1.2–1.9) to 1.7 (95% CI 1.2–2.4).
PEs were associated with the subsequent onset of a wide range of GMCs, independent of comorbid mental disorders. There were also associations between some medical conditions (particularly those involving chronic pain) and subsequent PEs. Although these findings will need to be confirmed in prospective studies, clinicians should be aware that psychotic symptoms may be risk markers for a wide range of adverse health outcomes. Whether PEs are causal risk factors will require further research.
Traumatic events are associated with increased risk of psychotic experiences, but it is unclear whether this association is explained by mental disorders prior to psychotic experience onset.
To investigate the associations between traumatic events and subsequent psychotic experience onset after adjusting for post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental disorders.
We assessed 29 traumatic event types and psychotic experiences from the World Mental Health surveys and examined the associations of traumatic events with subsequent psychotic experience onset with and without adjustments for mental disorders.
Respondents with any traumatic events had three times the odds of other respondents of subsequently developing psychotic experiences (OR=3.1, 95% CI 2.7–3.7), with variability in strength of association across traumatic event types. These associations persisted after adjustment for mental disorders.
Exposure to traumatic events predicts subsequent onset of psychotic experiences even after adjusting for comorbid mental disorders.
Presence of negative mood (depressed mood) and anhedonia (lack of interest and pleasure) are considered core symptoms of depression, while absence of positive mood is not taken into account. It is therefore remarkable that the depression scales routinely used to assess changes during antidepressant treatment (Hamilton Depression Rating Scale [HDRS], Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale [MADRS]) do not really take into account anhedonia. Several scales were developed to assess positive mood and hedonic tone, but they only partially cover the multidimensional concept. Therefore we developed a new 16-item questionnaire, the Leuven Affect and Pleasure Scale (LAPS), to assess negative affect, positive affect, and hedonic tone.
This first article on the LAPS questionnaire reports on the correlations between the different items, on the factor analysis, and on the differences found in 3 groups of subjects : healthy college students (N=138), depressed but still functioning college students (N=27), and severely depressed inpatients (N=38). These differences were calculated using univariate general linear models with Bonferroni post-hoc testing, and effect sizes were expressed in η2.
Negative and positive affect were only moderately correlated, and the 4 independent variables (cognitive functioning, overall functioning, meaningful life, and happiness) had stronger correlations with positive affect than with negative affect. The major difference in negative affect was between healthy college students and depressed college students, positive affect was different between the 3 groups, and the major difference for hedonic tone was between depressed college students and depressed inpatients. Affiliative positive affect and the affiliative hedonic function were well preserved, even in depressed inpatients.
This preliminary report suggests that the LAPS offers a comprehensive assessment of negative and positive affect, of hedonic tone, and of independent variables (cognitive functioning, overall functioning, meaningful life, and happiness). Clinically relevant differences in subscores were found in 3 groups of subjects with variable levels of depression (healthy subjects, mildly depressed subjects, and severely depressed inpatients).
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a leading cause of disability worldwide.
To examine the: (a) 12-month prevalence of DSM-IV MDD; (b) proportion aware that they have a problem needing treatment and who want care; (c) proportion of the latter receiving treatment; and (d) proportion of such treatment meeting minimal standards.
Representative community household surveys from 21 countries as part of the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys.
Of 51 547 respondents, 4.6% met 12-month criteria for DSM-IV MDD and of these 56.7% reported needing treatment. Among those who recognised their need for treatment, most (71.1%) made at least one visit to a service provider. Among those who received treatment, only 41.0% received treatment that met minimal standards. This resulted in only 16.5% of all individuals with 12-month MDD receiving minimally adequate treatment.
Only a minority of participants with MDD received minimally adequate treatment: 1 in 5 people in high-income and 1 in 27 in low-/lower-middle-income countries. Scaling up care for MDD requires fundamental transformations in community education and outreach, supply of treatment and quality of services.
A wish to die is common in older persons and is associated with increased mortality. Several risk factors have been identified, but the association between religiousness and a wish to die in older adults has been underexplored, and the association between death attitudes and the presence of a wish to die has not been investigated yet. The aim of this study is to explore the relationship between religiousness and death attitudes on the one hand and wish to die on the other hand, adjusting for clinical factors such as the presence of depression or somatic disorder.
The sample comprised 113 older inpatients (from a psychiatric and somatic ward) with a mean age of 74 years. Psychiatric diagnoses were assessed by the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Disorders, and logistic regression analyses estimated the unique contribution of religiousness and death attitudes to the wish to die, controlling for socio-demographic variables, depressive disorder, and somatic symptoms.
Both religiousness and death attitudes were associated with a wish to die in univariate models. Adding these variables in a multivariate logistic hierarchical model, death attitudes remained significant predictors but religiousness did not; 55% of the pseudovariance of the wish to die was explained by these variables, with an effective size of 0.89. Major depressive episode, somatic symptoms, Fear of Death, and Escape Acceptance were the most important predictors of the wish to die.
This study suggests that how older adults perceive death partly determines whether they have a wish to die. There may be a clinical, patient-oriented benefit in discussing with older patients about how they perceive death, as this can play a role in the early detection (and prevention) of death or suicide ideation and associated behaviors in older adults.
Previous research suggests that many people receiving mental health
treatment do not meet criteria for a mental disorder but are rather ‘the
To examine the association of past-year mental health treatment with
The World Health Organization's World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys
interviewed community samples of adults in 23 countries
(n = 62 305) about DSM-IV disorders and treatment in
the past 12 months for problems with emotions, alcohol or drugs.
Roughly half (52%) of people who received treatment met criteria for a
past-year DSM-IV disorder, an additional 18% for a lifetime disorder and
an additional 13% for other indicators of need (multiple subthreshold
disorders, recent stressors or suicidal behaviours). Dose–response
associations were found between number of indicators of need and
The vast majority of treatment in the WMH countries goes to patients with
mental disorders or other problems expected to benefit from
Death wishes are not uncommon in older persons, and to date, several risk factors have been identified. The presence of these risk factors is insufficient to fully understand why some older people, who are exposed to them, develop a wish to die and why others do not. The purpose of the study was to explore whether Purpose in Life as well as other life attitudes are associated with a death wish in older males and females.
The sample comprised 113 older inpatients (from a psychiatric and somatic ward) with a mean age of 74 years. Psychiatric diagnoses were assessed by the SCID-II. Logistic regression analyses estimated the unique contribution of (the interaction between) life attitudes and gender to the wish to die, controlling for sociodemographic variables, depressive disorder, and somatic symptoms.
We observed a statistically significant relationship between life attitudes and the wish to die. Purpose in Life and the Purpose in Life*Gender interaction explained significant additional variance in the prediction of the wish to die. Purposelessness in life might therefore be an important correlate of a wish to die, especially in older men, independently from sociodemographic and clinical features.
In assessing a wish to die in older adults, life attitudes need to be taken into account, besides the presence of a depressive disorder and/or somatic health. More specifically, finding or maintaining a purpose in later life might be an important feature in the prevention of the wish to die, especially in male persons.
Health expectancies, taking into account both quality and quantity of life, have generally been based on disability and physical functioning.
To compare mental health expectancies at age 25 and 55 based on common mental disorders both across countries and between males and females.
Mental health expectancies were calculated by combining mortality data from population life tables and the age-specific prevalence of selected common mental disorders obtained from the European Study of the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders (ESEMeD).
For the male population aged 25 (all countries combined) life expectancy was 52 years and life expectancy spent with a common mental disorder was 1.8 years (95% CI 0.7-2.9),3.4% of overall life expectancy. In comparison, for the female population life expectancy at age 25 was higher (57.9 years) as was life expectancy spent with a common mental disorder (5.1 years, 95% CI 3.6-6.6) and as a proportion of overall life expectancy, 8.8%. By age 55 life expectancy spent with a common mental disorder had reduced to 0.7 years (males) and 2.3 years (females).
Age and gender differences underpin our understanding of years spent with common mental disorders in adulthood. Greater age does not mean living relatively more years with common mental disorder. However, the female population spends more years with common mental disorders and a greater proportion of their longer life expectancy with them (and with each studied separate mental disorder).
Previous community surveys of the drop out from mental health treatment have been carried out only in the USA and Canada.
To explore mental health treatment drop out in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys.
Representative face-to-face household surveys were conducted among adults in 24 countries. People who reported mental health treatment in the 12 months before interview (n = 8482) were asked about drop out, defined as stopping treatment before the provider wanted.
Overall, drop out was 31.7%: 26.3% in high-income countries, 45.1% in upper-middle-income countries, and 37.6% in low/ lower/middle-income countries. Drop out from psychiatrists was 21.3% overall and similar across country income groups (high 20.3%, upper-middle 23.6%, low/lower-middle 23.8%) but the pattern of drop out across other sectors differed by country income group. Drop out was more likely early in treatment, particularly after the second visit.
Drop out needs to be reduced to ensure effective treatment.