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Background. This is the first study to examine variation across cohorts in lifetime risk of DSM-IV mental disorders in metropolitan China.
Method. Face-to-face household interviews of 2633 adults in Beijing and 2568 adults in Shanghai were conducted from November 2001 to February 2002 using a multi-stage household probability sampling method. The Chinese World Mental Health (WMH) Survey Initiative version of the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview (WMH-CIDI) was used for assessment.
Results. Lifetime prevalence of any disorder was 13·2%. Alcohol abuse (4·7%), major depressive disorder (3·5%), and specific phobia (2·6%) were the most common disorders. The median age of onset was later for mood (43 years) than anxiety (17 years) and substance use (25 years) disorders. Compared to observed lifetime prevalence, the projected lifetime risk as of age 75 years increased by 106% for major depressive disorder (7·2%), and was uniformly higher for all disorders. Relative odds of any lifetime disorder were 4·7 in the most recent cohorts (ages 18–34) compared to the eldest cohorts (ages [ges ]65).
Conclusions. The findings of this cross-sectional study tally with the view that rapid socioeconomic changes may bring about increasing incidence of mental disorders in China. However, prospective longitudinal studies are needed to confirm if the increase is real. Because of the huge size of the Chinese population, any increase in projected lifetime risk of mental disorders represents an enormous increase in the number of affected individuals.
Background. Psychiatric epidemiological surveys in China have repeatedly found much lower prevalence estimates than in most other parts of the world.
Method. Face-to-face household interviews of 5201 subjects (2633 in Beijing and 2568 in Shanghai respectively) were conducted from November 2001 to February 2002 using a multistage household probability sampling method. A Chinese version of the World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) was used for assessment.
Results. Twelve-month prevalence of any DSM-IV mental disorder in metropolitan China is estimated to be 7·0%, with major depressive disorder (2·0%), specific phobia (1·9%), and intermittent explosive disorder (1·7%) the most common disorders. Of these, 13·9% are classified as serious, 32·6% moderate, and 53·5% mild. Only 3·4% of respondents with any disorder sought treatment within the previous 12 months.
Conclusions. Although the general pattern of disorders, risk factors, and unmet need for treatment are similar to those in other countries, a low prevalence of mental disorders is found in metropolitan China. Resolving methodological problems that cause downward bias in estimates, such as stigma-related under-reporting and diagnostic incongruity with a somatopsychic mode of symptom presentation may lead to more accurate and probably higher prevalence estimates in future epidemiological studies. As a low prevalence still translates into an enormous number of people in China, measures are urgently needed to address the huge unmet need for treatment of mental disorders.
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