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1.  Role of common mental and physical disorders in partial disability around the world 
The British Journal of Psychiatry  2012;200(6):454-461.
Mental and physical disorders are associated with total disability, but their effects on days with partial disability (i.e. the ability to perform some, but not full-role, functioning in daily life) are not well understood.
To estimate individual (i.e. the consequences for an individual with a disorder) and societal effects (i.e. the avoidable partial disability in the society due to disorders) of mental and physical disorders on days with partial disability around the world.
Respondents from 26 nationally representative samples (n = 61 259, age 18+) were interviewed regarding mental and physical disorders, and day-to-day functioning. The Composite International Diagnostic Interview, version 3.0 (CIDI 3.0) was used to assess mental disorders; partial disability (expressed in full day equivalents) was assessed with the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule in the CIDI 3.0.
Respondents with disorders reported about 1.58 additional disability days per month compared with respondents without disorders. At the individual level, mental disorders (especially post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and bipolar disorder) yielded a higher number of days with disability than physical disorders. At the societal level, the population attributable risk proportion due to physical and mental disorders was 49% and 15% respectively.
Mental and physical disorders have a considerable impact on partial disability, at both the individual and at the societal level. Physical disorders yielded higher effects on partial disability than mental disorders.
PMCID: PMC3365273  PMID: 22539779
2.  Childhood Adversity and Adult Onset of Hypertension and Heart Disease in São Paulo, Brazil 
Using data from the São Paulo Megacity Mental Health Survey and logistic regression models, we studied how childhood neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and family violence were related to adult hypertension and heart disease. After adjustment for sociodemographic factors, child physical abuse was associated with hypertension and heart disease, whereas family violence was associated with hypertension. Efforts to curb child physical abuse could potentially reduce subsequent hypertension and heart disease.
PMCID: PMC3854875  PMID: 24309093
3.  Comorbidity of common mental disorders with cancer and their treatment gap: Findings from the World Mental Health Surveys 
Psycho-oncology  2013;23(1):40-51.
To study the comorbidity of common mental disorders (CMDs) and cancer, and the mental health treatment gap among community residents with active cancer, cancer survivors and cancer-free respondents in 13 high- and 11 low-middle income countries.
Data were derived from the World Mental Health Surveys (N=66,387; n=357 active cancer, n=1,373 cancer survivors, n=64,657 cancer free respondents). The WHO/Composite International Diagnostic Interview was used in all surveys to estimate CMDs prevalence rates. Respondents were also asked about mental health service utilization in the preceding 12 months. Cancer status was ascertained by self-report of physician’s diagnosis.
Twelve month prevalence rates of CMDs were higher among active cancer (18.4% SE=2.1) than cancer free respondents (13.3%, SE=0.2) adjusted for socio-demographic confounders and other lifetime chronic conditions (Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR)=1.44 95% CI 1.05–1.97). CMD rates among cancer survivors (14.6% SE=0.9) compared with cancer-free respondents did not differ significantly (AOR=0.95 95% CI 0.82–1.11). Similar patterns characterized high and low-middle income countries. Of respondents with active cancer who had CMD in the preceding 12 months 59% sought services for mental health problems (SE=5.3). The pattern of service utilization among people with CMDs by cancer status (highest among persons with active cancer, lower among survivors and lowest among cancer-free respondents) was similar in high- (64.0% SE=6.0, 41.2% SE=3.0, 35.6% SE=0.6) and low-middle income countries (46.4% SE=11.0, 22.5% SE=9.1, 17.4% SE=0.7).
Community respondents with active cancer have relatively higher CMD rates and relatively high treatment gap. Comprehensive cancer care should consider both factors.
PMCID: PMC3992888  PMID: 23983079
Cancer; Epidemiology; Mental health; Oncology; Treatment gap; World Mental Health Surveys
4.  Drinking Patterns and Alcohol Use Disorders in São Paulo, Brazil: The Role of Neighborhood Social Deprivation and Socioeconomic Status 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e108355.
Research conducted in high-income countries has investigated influences of socioeconomic inequalities on drinking outcomes such as alcohol use disorders (AUD), however, associations between area-level neighborhood social deprivation (NSD) and individual socioeconomic status with these outcomes have not been explored in Brazil. Thus, we investigated the role of these factors on drink-related outcomes in a Brazilian population, attending to male-female variations.
A multi-stage area probability sample of adult household residents in the São Paulo Metropolitan Area was assessed using the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview (WMH-CIDI) (n = 5,037). Estimation focused on prevalence and correlates of past-year alcohol disturbances [heavy drinking of lower frequency (HDLF), heavy drinking of higher frequency (HDHF), abuse, dependence, and DMS-5 AUD] among regular users (RU); odds ratio (OR) were obtained.
Higher NSD, measured as an area-level variable with individual level variables held constant, showed an excess odds for most alcohol disturbances analyzed. Prevalence estimates for HDLF and HDHF among RU were 9% and 20%, respectively, with excess odds in higher NSD areas; schooling (inverse association) and low income were associated with male HDLF. The only individual-level association with female HDLF involved employment status. Prevalence estimates for abuse, dependence, and DSM-5 AUD among RU were 8%, 4%, and 8%, respectively, with excess odds of: dependence in higher NSD areas for males; abuse and AUD for females. Among RU, AUD was associated with unemployment, and low education with dependence and AUD.
Regular alcohol users with alcohol-related disturbances are more likely to be found where area-level neighborhood characteristics reflect social disadvantage. Although we cannot draw inferences about causal influence, the associations are strong enough to warrant future longitudinal alcohol studies to explore causal mechanisms related to the heterogeneous patterns of association and male-female variations observed herein. Hopefully, these findings may help guide future directions for public health.
PMCID: PMC4182710  PMID: 25272008
5.  Days out-of-role due to common physical and mental health problems: Results from the São Paulo Megacity Mental Health Survey, Brazil 
Clinics  2013;68(11):1392-1399.
To investigate the relative importance of common physical and mental disorders with regard to the number of days out-of-role (DOR; number of days for which a person is completely unable to work or carry out normal activities because of health problems) in a population-based sample of adults in the São Paulo Metropolitan Area, Brazil.
The São Paulo Megacity Mental Health Survey was administered during face-to-face interviews with 2,942 adult household residents. The presence of 8 chronic physical disorders and 3 classes of mental disorders (mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders) was assessed for the previous year along with the number of days in the previous month for which each respondent was completely unable to work or carry out normal daily activities due to health problems. Using multiple regression analysis, we examined the associations of the disorders and their comorbidities with the number of days out-of-role while controlling for socio-demographic variables. Both individual-level and population-level associations were assessed.
A total of 13.1% of the respondents reported 1 or more days out-of-role in the previous month, with an annual median of 41.4 days out-of-role. The disorders considered in this study accounted for 71.7% of all DOR; the disorders that caused the greatest number of DOR at the individual-level were digestive (22.6), mood (19.9), substance use (15.0), chronic pain (16.5), and anxiety (14.0) disorders. The disorders associated with the highest population-attributable DOR were chronic pain (35.2%), mood (16.5%), and anxiety (15.0%) disorders.
Because pain, anxiety, and mood disorders have high effects at both the individual and societal levels, targeted interventions to reduce the impairments associated with these disorders have the highest potential to reduce the societal burdens of chronic illness in the São Paulo Metropolitan Area.
PMCID: PMC3812560  PMID: 24270949
Mental Disorders; Chronic Disease; Disability; Prevalence; Burden of Illness
7.  An Updated Global Picture of Cigarette Smoking Persistence among Adults 
Cross-national variance in smoking prevalence is relatively well documented. The aim of this study is to estimate levels of smoking persistence across 21 countries with a hypothesized inverse relationship between country income level and smoking persistence.
Data from the World Health Organization World Mental Health Survey Initiative were used to estimate cross-national differences in smoking persistence–the proportion of adults who started to smoke and persisted in smoking by the date of the survey.
There is large variation in smoking persistence from 25% (Nigeria) to 85% (China), with a random-effects meta-analytic summary estimate of 55% with considerable cross-national variation. (Cochran's heterogeneity Q statistic=6,845; p<0.001). Meta-regressions indicated observed differences are not attributable to differences in country income level, age distribution of smokers, or how recent the onset of smoking began within each country.
While smoking should remain an important public health issue in any country where smokers are present, this report identifies several countries with higher levels of smoking persistence (namely, China and India).
PMCID: PMC3635135  PMID: 23626929
8.  Disability Mediates the Impact of Common Conditions on Perceived Health 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65858.
We examined the extent to which disability mediates the observed associations of common mental and physical conditions with perceived health.
Methods and Findings
WHO World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys carried out in 22 countries worldwide (n = 51,344 respondents, 72.0% response rate). We assessed nine common mental conditions with the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI), and ten chronic physical with a checklist. A visual analog scale (VAS) score (0, worst to 100, best) measured perceived health in the previous 30 days. Disability was assessed using a modified WHO Disability Assessment Schedule (WHODAS), including: cognition, mobility, self-care, getting along, role functioning (life activities), family burden, stigma, and discrimination. Path analysis was used to estimate total effects of conditions on perceived health VAS and their separate direct and indirect (through the WHODAS dimensions) effects.
Twelve-month prevalence was 14.4% for any mental and 51.4% for any physical condition. 31.7% of respondents reported difficulties in role functioning, 11.4% in mobility, 8.3% in stigma, 8.1% in family burden and 6.9% in cognition. Other difficulties were much less common. Mean VAS score was 81.0 (SD = 0.1). Decrements in VAS scores were highest for neurological conditions (9.8), depression (8.2) and bipolar disorder (8.1). Across conditions, 36.8% (IQR: 31.2–51.5%) of the total decrement in perceived health associated with the condition were mediated by WHODAS disabilities (significant for 17 of 19 conditions). Role functioning was the dominant mediator for both mental and physical conditions. Stigma and family burden were also important mediators for mental conditions, and mobility for physical conditions.
More than a third of the decrement in perceived health associated with common conditions is mediated by disability. Although the decrement is similar for physical and mental conditions, the pattern of mediation is different. Research is needed on the benefits for perceived health of targeted interventions aimed at particular disability dimensions.
PMCID: PMC3675077  PMID: 23762442
9.  Parent psychopathology and offspring mental disorders: results from the WHO World Mental Health Surveys 
The British Journal of Psychiatry  2012;200(4):290-299.
Associations between specific parent and offspring mental disorders are likely to have been overestimated in studies that have failed to control for parent comorbidity.
To examine the associations of parent with respondent disorders.
Data come from the World Health Organization (WHO) World Mental Health Surveys (n = 51 507). Respondent disorders were assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview and parent disorders with informant-based Family History Research Diagnostic Criteria interviews.
Although virtually all parent disorders examined (major depressive, generalised anxiety, panic, substance and antisocial behaviour disorders and suicidality) were significantly associated with offspring disorders in multivariate analyses, little specificity was found. Comorbid parent disorders had significant sub-additive associations with offspring disorders. Population-attributable risk proportions for parent disorders were 12.4% across all offspring disorders, generally higher in high- and upper-middle- than low-/lower-middle-income countries, and consistently higher for behaviour (11.0-19.9%) than other (7.1-14.0%) disorders.
Parent psychopathology is a robust non-specific predictor associated with a substantial proportion of offspring disorders.
PMCID: PMC3317036  PMID: 22403085
10.  Prevalence and Correlates of Bipolar Spectrum Disorder in the World Mental Health Survey Initiative 
Archives of general psychiatry  2011;68(3):241-251.
There is limited information on the prevalence and correlates of bipolar spectrum disorder in international population-based studies using common methodology.
To describe the prevalence, impact, patterns of comorbidity, and patterns of service utilization for bipolar spectrum disorder in the WHO World Mental Health survey (WMH) initiative.
Cross-sectional face-to-face household surveys
61,392 community adults in 11 countries in the Americas, Europe, and Asia
Main Outcome Measure
DSM-IV disorders, severity, and treatment assessed with the World Mental Health version of the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview (WMH CIDI 3.0), a fully-structured lay-administered psychiatric diagnostic interview.
The aggregate lifetime prevalence of BP-I disorder was 0.6%, BP-II was 0.4%, subthreshold BP was 1.4%, and Bipolar Spectrum (BPS) was 2.4%. Twelve-month prevalence of BP-I disorder was 0.4%, BP-II was 0.3%, subthreshold BP was 0.8%, and BPS was 1.5%. Severity of both manic and depressive symptoms, and suicidal behavior increased monotonically from subthreshold BP to BP-I. By contrast, role impairment was similar across bipolar subtypes. Symptom severity was greater for depressive than manic episodes, with approximately 75% of respondents with depression and 50% of respondents with mania reporting severe role impairment. Three-quarters of those with BPS met criteria for at least one other disorder, with anxiety disorders, particularly panic attacks, being the most common comorbid condition. Less than half of those with lifetime BPS received mental health treatment, particularly in low-income countries where only 25% reported contact with the mental health system.
Despite cross-site variation in the prevalence rates of bipolar spectrum disorder, the severity, impact, and patterns of comorbidity were remarkably similar internationally. The uniform increases in clinical correlates, suicidal behavior and comorbidity across each diagnostic category provide evidence for the validity of the concept of a bipolar spectrum. BPS treatment needs are often unmet, particularly in low-income countries.
PMCID: PMC3486639  PMID: 21383262
11.  Premarital mental disorders and physical violence in marriage: cross-national study of married couples 
The British Journal of Psychiatry  2011;199(4):330-337.
Mental disorders may increase the risk of physical violence among married couples.
To estimate associations between premarital mental disorders and marital violence in a cross-national sample of married couples.
A total of 1821 married couples (3642 individuals) from 11 countries were interviewed as part of the World Health Organization's World Mental Health Survey Initiative. Sixteen mental disorders with onset prior to marriage were examined as predictors of marital violence reported by either spouse.
Any physical violence was reported by one or both spouses in 20% of couples, and was associated with husbands' externalising disorders (OR = 1.7, 95% CI 1.2-2.3). Overall, the population attributable risk for marital violence related to premarital mental disorders was estimated to be 17.2%.
Husbands' externalising disorders had a modest but consistent association with marital violence across diverse countries. This finding has implications for the development of targeted interventions to reduce risk of marital violence.
PMCID: PMC3184228  PMID: 21778172
12.  Parental Psychopathology and the Risk of Suicidal Behavior in their Offspring: Results from the World Mental Health Surveys 
Molecular psychiatry  2010;16(12):1221-1233.
Prior research suggests that parental psychopathology predicts suicidal behavior among offspring; however, the more fine-grained associations between specific parental disorders and distinct stages of the pathway to suicide are not well-understood. We set out to test the hypothesis that parental disorders associated with negative mood would predict offspring suicide ideation, whereas disorders characterized by impulsive-aggression (e,g., antisocial personality) and anxiety/agitation (e.g., panic disorder) would predict which offspring act on their suicide ideation and make a suicide attempt. Data were collected during face-to-face interviews conducted on nationally representative samples (N=55,299; age 18+) from 21 countries around the world. We tested the associations between a range of parental disorders and the onset and persistence over time (i.e., time-since-most-recent-episode controlling for age-of-onset and time-since-onset) of subsequent suicidal behavior (suicide ideation, plans, and attempts) among offspring. Analyses tested bivariate and multivariate associations between each parental disorder and distinct forms of suicidal behavior. Results revealed that each parental disorder examined increased the risk of suicide ideation among offspring, parental generalized anxiety and depression emerged as the only predictors of the onset and persistence (respectively) of suicide plans among offspring with ideation, whereas parental anti-social personality and anxiety disorders emerged as the only predictors of the onset and persistence of suicide attempts among ideators. A dose-response relation between parental disorders and respondent risk of suicide ideation and attempt also was found. Parental death by suicide was a particularly strong predictor of persistence of suicide attempts among offspring. These associations remained significant after controlling for comorbidity of parental disorders and for the presence of mental disorders among offspring. These findings should inform future explorations of the mechanisms of inter-generational transmission of suicidal behavior.
PMCID: PMC3142278  PMID: 21079606
suicide; parent and family history; intergenerational transmission
13.  Sociodemographic Correlates of Transitions from Alcohol Use to Disorders and Remission in the São Paulo Megacity Mental Health Survey, Brazil 
Aims: To evaluate sociodemographic correlates associated with transitions from alcohol use to disorders and remission in a Brazilian population. Methods: Data are from a probabilistic, multi-stage clustered sample of adult household residents in the São Paulo Metropolitan Area. Alcohol use, regular use (at least 12 drinks/year), DSM-IV abuse and dependence and remission from alcohol use disorders (AUDs) were assessed with the World Mental Health version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Age of onset (AOO) distributions of the cumulative lifetime probability of each alcohol use stage were prepared with data obtained from 5037 subjects. Correlates of transitions were obtained from a subsample of 2942 respondents, whose time-dependent sociodemographic data were available. Results: Lifetime prevalences were 85.8% for alcohol use, 56.2% for regular use, 10.6% for abuse and 3.6% for dependence; 73.4 and 58.8% of respondents with lifetime abuse and dependence, respectively, had remitted. The number of sociodemographic correlates decreased from alcohol use to disorders. All transitions across alcohol use stages up to abuse were consistently associated with male gender, younger cohorts and lower education. Importantly, low education was a correlate for developing AUD and not remitting from dependence. Early AOO of first alcohol use was associated with the transition of regular use to abuse. Conclusion: The present study demonstrates that specific correlates differently contribute throughout alcohol use trajectory in a Brazilian population. It also reinforces the need of preventive programs focused on early initiation of alcohol use and high-risk individuals, in order to minimize the progression to dependence and improve remission from AUD.
PMCID: PMC3080240  PMID: 21414952
14.  Gender differences in drinking patterns and alcohol-related problems in a community sample in São Paulo, Brazil 
Clinics  2012;67(3):205-212.
To investigate drinking patterns and gender differences in alcohol-related problems in a Brazilian population, with an emphasis on the frequency of heavy drinking.
A cross-sectional study was conducted with a probability adult household sample (n = 1,464) in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. Alcohol intake and ICD-10 psychopathology diagnoses were assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview 1.1. The analyses focused on the prevalence and determinants of 12-month non-heavy drinking, heavy episodic drinking (4-5 drinks per occasion), and heavy and frequent drinking (heavy drinking at least 3 times/week), as well as associated alcohol-related problems according to drinking patterns and gender.
Nearly 22% (32.4% women, 8.7% men) of the subjects were lifetime abstainers, 60.3% were non-heavy drinkers, and 17.5% reported heavy drinking in a 12-month period (26.3% men, 10.9% women). Subjects with the highest frequency of heavy drinking reported the most problems. Among subjects who did not engage in heavy drinking, men reported more problems than did women. A gender convergence in the amount of problems was observed when considering heavy drinking patterns. Heavy and frequent drinkers were twice as likely as abstainers to present lifetime depressive disorders. Lifetime nicotine dependence was associated with all drinking patterns. Heavy and frequent drinking was not restricted to young ages.
Heavy and frequent episodic drinking was strongly associated with problems in a community sample from the largest city in Latin America. Prevention policies should target this drinking pattern, independent of age or gender. These findings warrant continued research on risky drinking behavior, particularly among persistent heavy drinkers at the non-dependent level.
PMCID: PMC3297027  PMID: 22473399
Alcohol; Heavy episodic drinking; Binge drinking; Epidemiology; Brazil
15.  Mental Disorders in Megacities: Findings from the São Paulo Megacity Mental Health Survey, Brazil 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e31879.
World population growth is projected to be concentrated in megacities, with increases in social inequality and urbanization-associated stress. São Paulo Metropolitan Area (SPMA) provides a forewarning of the burden of mental disorders in urban settings in developing world. The aim of this study is to estimate prevalence, severity, and treatment of recently active DSM-IV mental disorders. We examined socio-demographic correlates, aspects of urban living such as internal migration, exposure to violence, and neighborhood-level social deprivation with 12-month mental disorders.
Methods and Results
A representative cross-sectional household sample of 5,037 adults was interviewed face-to-face using the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI), to generate diagnoses of DSM-IV mental disorders within 12 months of interview, disorder severity, and treatment. Administrative data on neighborhood social deprivation were gathered. Multiple logistic regression was used to evaluate individual and contextual correlates of disorders, severity, and treatment. Around thirty percent of respondents reported a 12-month disorder, with an even distribution across severity levels. Anxiety disorders were the most common disorders (affecting 19.9%), followed by mood (11%), impulse-control (4.3%), and substance use (3.6%) disorders. Exposure to crime was associated with all four types of disorder. Migrants had low prevalence of all four types compared to stable residents. High urbanicity was associated with impulse-control disorders and high social deprivation with substance use disorders. Vulnerable subgroups were observed: women and migrant men living in most deprived areas. Only one-third of serious cases had received treatment in the previous year.
Adults living in São Paulo megacity had prevalence of mental disorders at greater levels than similar surveys conducted in other areas of the world. Integration of mental health promotion and care into the rapidly expanding Brazilian primary health system should be strengthened. This strategy might become a model for poorly resourced and highly populated developing countries.
PMCID: PMC3279422  PMID: 22348135
16.  The role of Criterion A2 in the DSM-IV diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder 
Biological psychiatry  2010;68(5):465-473.
Controversy exists about the utility of DSM-IV post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Criterion A2: that exposure to a potentially traumatic experience (PTE; PTSD Criterion A1) is accompanied by intense fear, helplessness, or horror.
Lifetime DSM-IV PTSD was assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview in community surveys of 52,826 respondents across 21 countries in the World Mental Health Surveys.
37.6% of 28,490 representative PTEs reported by respondents met Criterion A2, a proportion higher than the proportions meeting other criteria (B-F; 5.4-9.6%). Conditional prevalence of meeting all other criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD given a PTE was significantly higher in the presence (9.7%) than absence (0.1%) of A2. However, as only 1.4% of respondents who met all other criteria failed A2, the estimated prevalence of PTSD increased only slightly (from 3.64% to 3.69%) when A2 was not required for diagnosis. PTSD with or without Criterion A2 did not differ in persistence or predicted consequences (subsequent suicidal ideation or secondary disorders) depending on presence-absence of A2. Furthermore, as A2 was by far the most commonly reported symptom of PTSD, initial assessment of A2 would be much less efficient than screening other criteria in quickly ruling out a large proportion of non-cases.
Removal of A2 from the DSM-IV criterion set would reduce the complexity of diagnosing PTSD while not substantially increasing the number of people who qualify for diagnosis. A2 should consequently be reconceptualized as a risk factor for PTSD rather than as a diagnostic requirement.
PMCID: PMC3228599  PMID: 20599189
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); potentially traumatic experience (PTE); Criterion A2; diagnosis; DSM-IV; Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI); World Health Organization World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys
17.  Cross-national epidemiology of DSM-IV major depressive episode 
BMC Medicine  2011;9:90.
Major depression is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, yet epidemiologic data are not available for many countries, particularly low- to middle-income countries. In this paper, we present data on the prevalence, impairment and demographic correlates of depression from 18 high and low- to middle-income countries in the World Mental Health Survey Initiative.
Major depressive episodes (MDE) as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DMS-IV) were evaluated in face-to-face interviews using the World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). Data from 18 countries were analyzed in this report (n = 89,037). All countries surveyed representative, population-based samples of adults.
The average lifetime and 12-month prevalence estimates of DSM-IV MDE were 14.6% and 5.5% in the ten high-income and 11.1% and 5.9% in the eight low- to middle-income countries. The average age of onset ascertained retrospectively was 25.7 in the high-income and 24.0 in low- to middle-income countries. Functional impairment was associated with recency of MDE. The female: male ratio was about 2:1. In high-income countries, younger age was associated with higher 12-month prevalence; by contrast, in several low- to middle-income countries, older age was associated with greater likelihood of MDE. The strongest demographic correlate in high-income countries was being separated from a partner, and in low- to middle-income countries, was being divorced or widowed.
MDE is a significant public-health concern across all regions of the world and is strongly linked to social conditions. Future research is needed to investigate the combination of demographic risk factors that are most strongly associated with MDE in the specific countries included in the WMH.
PMCID: PMC3163615  PMID: 21791035
18.  Age differences in the prevalence and comorbidity of DSM-IV major depressive episodes: Results from the WHO World Mental Health Survey Initiative 
Depression and anxiety  2010;27(4):351-364.
Although depression appears to decrease in late life, this could be due to misattribution of depressive symptoms to physical disorders that increase in late life.
We investigated this issue by studying age differences in comorbidity of DSM-IV major depressive episodes (MDE) with chronic physical conditions in the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) surveys, a series of community epidemiological surveys carried out in 10 developed countries (n = 51,771) and 8 developing countries (n = 37,265). MDE and other mental disorders were assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). Organic exclusion rules were not used to avoid inappropriate exclusion of cases with physical comorbidity. Physical conditions were assessed with a standard chronic conditions checklist.
Twelve-month DSM-IV/CIDI MDE was significantly less prevalent among respondents ages 65+ than younger respondents in developed but not developing countries. Prevalence of comorbid mental disorders generally either decreased or remained stable with age, while comorbidity of MDE with mental disorders generally increased with age. Prevalence of physical conditions, in comparison, generally increased with age, while comorbidity of MDE with physical conditions generally decreased with age. Depression treatment was lowest among the elderly in developed and developing countries.
The weakening associations between MDE and physical conditions with increasing age argue against the suggestion that the low estimated prevalence of MDE among the elderly is due to increased confounding with physical disorders. Future study is needed to investigate processes that might lead to a decreasing impact of physical illness on depression among the elderly.
PMCID: PMC3139270  PMID: 20037917
Elderly; Depression; Disability; Comorbidity; Epidemiology
19.  Childhood adversities as risk factors for onset and persistence of suicidal behaviour 
Suicide is a leading cause of death worldwide, but the precise effect of childhood adversities as risk factors for the onset and persistence of suicidal behaviour (suicide ideation, plans and attempts) are not well understood.
To examine the associations between childhood adversities as risk factors for the onset and persistence of suicidal behaviour across 21 countries worldwide.
Respondents from nationally representative samples (n = 55 299) were interviewed regarding childhood adversities that occurred before the age of 18 years and lifetime suicidal behaviour.
Childhood adversities were associated with an increased risk of suicide attempt and ideation in both bivariate and multivariate models (odds ratio range 1.2–5.7). The risk increased with the number of adversities experienced, but at a decreasing rate. Sexual and physical abuse were consistently the strongest risk factors for both the onset and persistence of suicidal behaviour, especially during adolescence. Associations remained similar after additional adjustment for respondents’ lifetime mental disorder status.
Childhood adversities (especially intrusive or aggressive adversities) are powerful predictors of the onset and persistence of suicidal behaviours.
PMCID: PMC2894980  PMID: 20592429
20.  Twelve Month Prevalence of and Risk Factors for Suicide Attempts in the WHO World Mental Health Surveys 
The Journal of clinical psychiatry  2010;71(12):1617-1628.
Although suicide is a leading cause of death worldwide, clinicians and researchers lack a data-driven method to assess the risk of suicide attempts. This study reports the results of an analysis of a large cross-national epidemiological survey database that estimates the 12-month prevalence of suicidal behaviors, identifies risk factors for suicide attempts, and combines these factors to create a risk index for 12-month suicide attempts separately for developed and developing countries.
Data come from the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys (conducted 2001–2007) in which 108,705 adults from 21 countries were interviewed using the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). The survey assessed suicidal behaviors and potential risk factors across multiple domains including: socio-demographics, parent psychopathology, childhood adversities, DSM-IV disorders, and history of suicidal behavior.
Twelve-month prevalence estimates of suicide ideation, plans and attempts are 2.0%, 0.6% and 0.3% respectively for developed countries and 2.1%, 0.7% and 0.4% for developing countries. Risk factors for suicidal behaviors in both developed and developing countries include: female sex, younger age, lower education and income, unmarried status, unemployment, parent psychopathology, childhood adversities, and presence of diverse 12-month DSM-IV mental disorders. Combining risk factors from multiple domains produced risk indices that accurately predicted 12-month suicide attempts in both developed and developing countries (AUC=.74–.80).
Suicidal behaviors occur at similar rates in both developed and developing countries. Risk indices assessing multiple domains can predict suicide attempts with fairly good accuracy and may be useful in aiding clinicians in the prediction of these behaviors.
PMCID: PMC3000886  PMID: 20816034
suicide; risk factors; prediction; assessment; World Mental Health Survey
21.  Subtyping Social Anxiety Disorder in Developed and Developing Countries 
Depression and anxiety  2010;27(4):390-403.
Although social anxiety disorder (SAD) is classified in DSM-IV into generalized and non-generalized subtypes, community surveys in Western countries find no evidence of disjunctions in the dose-response relationship between number of social fears and outcomes to support this distinction. We aimed to determine whether this holds across a broader set of developed and developing countries and whether subtyping according to number of performance versus interactional fears would be more useful.
The WHO World Mental Health (WMH) Survey Initiative undertook population epidemiological surveys in 11 developing and 9 developed countries using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) to assess DSM-IV disorders. Fourteen performance and interactional fears were assessed. Associations between number of social fears in SAD and numerous outcomes (age-of-onset, persistence, severity, comorbidity, treatment) were examined. Additional analyses examined associations with number of performance fears versus number of interactional fears.
Lifetime social fears are quite common in both developed (15.9%) and developing (14.3%) countries, but lifetime SAD is much more common in the former (6.1%) than latter (2.1%) countries. Among those with SAD, persistence, severity, comorbidity, and treatment all have dose-response relationships with number of social fears, with no clear nonlinearity in relationships that would support a distinction between generalized and non-generalized SAD. The distinction between performance fears and interactional fears is generally not important in predicting these same outcomes.
No evidence is found to support subtyping SAD on the basis of either number of social fears or number of performance fears versus number of interactional fears.
PMCID: PMC2851829  PMID: 20037919
22.  Psychiatry - life events and social support in late life depression 
Clinics  2011;66(2):233-238.
To examine the association of life events and social support in the broadly defined category of depression in late life.
Negative life events and lack of social support are associated with depression in the elderly. Currently, there are limited studies examining the association between life events, social support and late-life depression in Brazil.
We estimated the frequency of late-life depression within a household community sample of 367 subjects aged 60 years or greater with associated factors. “Old age symptomatic depression” was defined using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview 1.1 tool. This diagnostic category included only late-life symptoms and consisted of the diagnoses of depression and dysthymia as well as a subsyndromal definition of depression, termed “late subthreshold depression”. Social support and life events were assessed using the Comprehensive Assessment and Referral Evaluation (SHORT-CARE) inventory.
“Old age symptomatic depression” occurred in 18.8% of the patients in the tested sample. In univariate analyses, this condition was associated with female gender, lifetime anxiety disorder and living alone. In multivariate models, “old age symptomatic depression” was associated with a perceived lack of social support in men and life events in women.
Social support and life events were determined to be associated with late-life depression, but it is important to keep in mind the differences between genders. Also, further exploration of the role of lifetime anxiety disorder in late-life depression may be of future importance.
We believe that this study helps to provide insight into the role of psychosocial factors in late-life depression.
PMCID: PMC3059858  PMID: 21484039
Depression; Ageing; Life Events; Social Support; Elderly; Brazil

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