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1.  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
2.  Associations between DSM-IV mental disorders and diabetes mellitus: a role for impulse control disorders and depression 
Diabetologia  2014;57(4):699-709.
No studies have evaluated whether the frequently observed associations between depression and diabetes could reflect the presence of comorbid psychiatric conditions and their associations with diabetes. We therefore examined the associations between a wide range of pre-existing Diagnostic Statistical Manual, 4th edition (DSM-IV) mental disorders with self-reported diagnosis of diabetes.
We performed a series of cross-sectional face-to-face household surveys of community-dwelling adults (n=52,095) in 19 countries. The World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview retrospectively assessed lifetime prevalence and age at onset of 16 DSM-IV mental disorders. Diabetes was indicated by self-report of physician’s diagnosis together with its timing. We analysed the associations between all mental disorders and diabetes, without and with comorbidity adjustment.
We identified 2,580 cases of adult-onset diabetes mellitus (21 years +). Although all 16 DSM-IV disorders were associated with diabetes diagnosis in bivariate models, only depression (OR 1.3; 95% CI 1.1, 1.5), intermittent explosive disorder (OR 1.6; 95% CI 1.1, 2.1), binge eating disorder (OR 2.6; 95% CI 1.7, 4.0) and bulimia nervosa (OR 2.1; 95% CI 1.3, 3.4) remained after comorbidity adjustment.
Depression and impulse control disorders (eating disorders in particular) were significantly associated with diabetes diagnosis after comorbidity adjustment. These findings support the focus on depression as having a role in diabetes onset, but suggest that this focus may be extended towards impulse control disorders. Acknowledging the comorbidity of mental disorders is important in determining the associations between mental disorders and subsequent diabetes.
PMCID: PMC4124905  PMID: 24488082
Comorbidity; Depression; Epidemiology; Impulse control disorders; Mental disorders
3.  Associations between mental disorders and subsequent onset of hypertension 
General hospital psychiatry  2013;36(2):142-149.
Previous work has suggested significant associations between various psychological symptoms (e.g. depression, anxiety, anger, alcohol abuse) and hypertension. However, the presence and extent of associations between common mental disorders and subsequent adult onset of hypertension remains unclear. Further, there is little data available on how such associations vary by gender or over life course.
Data from the World Mental Health Surveys (comprising 19 countries, and 52,095 adults) were used. Survival analyses estimated associations between first onset of common mental disorders and subsequent onset of hypertension, with and without psychiatric comorbidity adjustment. Variations in the strength of associations by gender and by life course stage of onset of both the mental disorder and hypertension were investigated.
After psychiatric comorbidity adjustment, depression, panic disorder, social phobia, specific phobia, binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, alcohol abuse, and drug abuse were significantly associated with subsequent diagnosis of hypertension (with ORs ranging from 1.1 to 1.6). Number of lifetime mental disorders was associated with subsequent hypertension in a dose-response fashion. For social phobia and alcohol abuse, associations with hypertension were stronger for males than females. For panic disorder, the association with hypertension was particularly apparent in earlier onset hypertension.
Depression, anxiety, impulsive eating disorders, and substance use disorders disorders were significantly associated with the subsequent diagnosis of hypertension. These data underscore the importance of early detection of mental disorders, and of physical health monitoring in people with these conditions..
PMCID: PMC3996437  PMID: 24342112
Hypertension; common mental disorders; World Mental Health Surveys
4.  Determinants of the use of health care services: multilevel analysis in the Metropolitan Region of Sao Paulo 
To evaluate the individual and contextual determinants of the use of health care services in the metropolitan region of Sao Paulo.
Data from the Sao Paulo Megacity study – the Brazilian version of the World Mental Health Survey multicenter study – were used. A total of 3,588 adults living in 69 neighborhoods in the metropolitan region of Sao Paulo, SP, Southeastern Brazil, including 38 municipalities and 31 neighboring districts, were selected using multistratified sampling of the non-institutionalized population. Multilevel Bayesian logistic models were adjusted to identify the individual and contextual determinants of the use of health care services in the past 12 months and presence of a regular physician for routine care.
The contextual characteristics of the place of residence (income inequality, violence, and median income) showed no significant correlation (p > 0.05) with the use of health care services or with the presence of a regular physician for routine care. The only exception was the negative correlation between living in areas with high income inequality and presence of a regular physician (OR: 0.77; 95%CI 0.60;0.99) after controlling for individual characteristics. The study revealed a strong and consistent correlation between individual characteristics (mainly education and possession of health insurance), use of health care services, and presence of a regular physician. Presence of chronic and mental illnesses was strongly correlated with the use of health care services in the past year (regardless of the individual characteristics) but not with the presence of a regular physician.
Individual characteristics including higher education and possession of health insurance were important determinants of the use of health care services in the metropolitan area of Sao Paulo. A better understanding of these determinants is essential for the development of public policies that promote equitable use of health care services.
PMCID: PMC4386561  PMID: 25741652
Health Services, utilization; Health Services Accessibility; Health Inequalities; Social Conditions; Social Inequity; Metropolitan Zones; Multilevel Analysis
Depression and anxiety  2014;31(6):494-505.
The development of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-5) and ICD-11 has led to reconsideration of diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys allow investigation of the implications of the changing criteria compared to DSM-IV and ICD-10.
WMH Surveys in 13 countries asked respondents to enumerate all their lifetime traumatic events (TEs) and randomly selected one TE per respondent for PTSD assessment. DSMIV and ICD-10 PTSD were assessed for the 23,936 respondents who reported lifetime TEs in these surveys with the fully structured Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). DSM-5 and proposed ICD-11 criteria were approximated. Associations of the different criteria sets with indicators of clinical severity (distress-impairment, suicidality, comorbid fear-distress disorders, PTSD symptom duration) were examined to investigate the implications of using the different systems.
A total of 5.6% of respondents met criteria for “broadly defined” PTSD (i.e., full criteria in at least one diagnostic system), with prevalence ranging from 3.0% with DSM-5 to 4.4% with ICD-10. Only one-third of broadly defined cases met criteria in all four systems and another one third in only one system (narrowly defined cases). Between-system differences in indicators of clinical severity suggest that ICD-10 criteria are least strict and DSM-IV criteria most strict. The more striking result, though, is that significantly elevated indicators of clinical significance were found even for narrowly defined cases for each of the four diagnostic systems.
These results argue for a broad definition of PTSD defined by any one of the different systems to capture all clinically significant cases of PTSD in future studies.
PMCID: PMC4211431  PMID: 24894802
Posttraumatic stress disorder; World Mental Health Surveys; epidemiology; nosology; DSM-IV; DSM-5; ICD-10; ICD-11
6.  Associations between DSM-IV mental disorders and subsequent heart disease onset: beyond depression 
International journal of cardiology  2013;168(6):10.1016/j.ijcard.2013.08.012.
Prior studies on the depression-heart disease association have not usually used diagnostic measures of depression, nor taken other mental disorders into consideration. As a result, it is not clear whether the association between depression and heart disease onset reflects a specific association, or the comorbidity between depression and other mental disorders. Additionally, the relative magnitude of associations of a range of mental disorders with heart disease onset is unknown.
Face-to-face household surveys were conducted in 19 countries (n=52,095; person years=2,141,194). The Composite International Diagnostic Interview retrospectively assessed lifetime prevalence and age at onset of 16 DSM-IV mental disorders. Heart disease was indicated by self-report of physician’s diagnosis, or self-report of heart attack, together with their timing (year). Survival analyses estimated associations between first onset of mental disorders and subsequent heart disease onset.
After comorbidity adjustment, depression, panic disorder, specific phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder and alcohol use disorders were associated with heart disease onset (ORs 1.3–1.6). Increasing number of mental disorders was associated with heart disease in a dose-response fashion. Mood disorders and alcohol abuse were more strongly associated with earlier onset than later onset heart disease. Associations did not vary by gender.
Depression, anxiety and alcohol use disorders were significantly associated with heart disease onset; depression was the weakest predictor. If confirmed in future prospective studies, the breadth of psychopathology’s links with heart disease onset has substantial clinical and public health implications.
PMCID: PMC3886238  PMID: 23993321
depression; anxiety disorders; alcohol abuse; heart disease; comorbidity
7.  Embarrassment When Illness Strikes A Close Relative: A World Mental Health Survey Consortium Multi-Site Study 
Psychological medicine  2013;43(10):2191-2202.
This global study seeks to estimate the degree to which a family member might feel embarrassed when a close relative is suffering from an alcohol, drug, or mental health condition (ADMC) versus a general medical condition (GMC). To date, most studies have considered embarrassment and stigma in society and internalized by the afflicted individual, but have not assessed family embarrassment in a large scale study.
In 16 sites of the World Mental Health Surveys (WMHS), standardized assessments were completed including items on family embarrassment. Site matching was used to constrain local socially shared determinants of stigma-related feelings, enabling a conditional logistic regression model that estimates the embarrassment close relatives may hold in relation to family members affected by an ADMC, GMC, or both conditions.
There was a statistically robust association such that subgroups with an ADMC-affected relative were more likely to feel embarrassed as compared to subgroups with a relative affected by a GMC (p<0.001), even with covariate adjustments for age and sex.
The pattern of evidence from this research is consistent with conceptual models for interventions that target individual- and family-level stigma-related feelings of embarrassment as might be part of the obstacles to effective early intervention and treatment for ADMC conditions. Macro-level interventions are underway, but micro-level interventions also may be required among family members, along with care for each person with an ADMC.
PMCID: PMC4013530  PMID: 23298443
Family Embarrassment; Stigma; World Mental Health Surveys; Psychiatric Conditions
8.  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
9.  Associations between DSM-IV mental disorders and onset of self-reported peptic ulcer in the World Mental Health Surveys 
Journal of psychosomatic research  2013;75(2):121-127.
Recent research demonstrating concurrent associations between mental disorders and peptic ulcers has renewed interest in links between psychological factors and ulcers. However, little is known about associations between temporally prior mental disorders and subsequent ulcer onset. Nor has the potentially confounding role of childhood adversities been explored. The objective of this study was to examine associations between a wide range of temporally prior DSM-IV mental disorders and subsequent onset of ulcer, without and with adjustment for mental disorder comorbidity and childhood adversities.
Face-to-face household surveys conducted in 19 countries (n=52,095; person years=2,096,486).The Composite International Diagnostic Interview retrospectively assessed lifetime prevalence and age at onset of 16 DSM-IV mental disorders. Peptic ulcer onset was assessed in the same interview by self-report of physician’s diagnosis and year of diagnosis. Survival analyses estimated associations between first onset of mental disorders and subsequent ulcer onset.
After comorbidity and sociodemographic adjustment, depression, social phobia, specific phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, alcohol and drug abuse disorders were significantly associated with ulcer onset (ORs 1.3-1.6). Increasing number of lifetime mental disorders was associated with ulcer onset in a dose-response fashion. These associations were only slightly attenuated by adjustment for childhood adversities.
A wide range of mental disorders were linked with the self-report of subsequent peptic ulcer onset. These associations require confirmation in prospective designs, but are suggestive of a role for mental disorders in contributing to ulcer vulnerability, possibly through abnormalities in the physiological stress response associated with mental disorders.
PMCID: PMC3737596  PMID: 23915767
mental disorders; depression; anxiety; alcohol abuse and dependence; peptic ulcer
Depression and anxiety  2013;31(2):130-142.
Clinical research suggests that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients exposed to multiple traumatic events (TEs) rather than a single TE have increased morbidity and dysfunction. Although epidemiological surveys in the United States and Europe also document high rates of multiple TE exposure, no population-based cross-national data have examined this issue.
Data were analyzed from 20 population surveys in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Survey Initiative (n 51,295 aged 18+). The Composite International Diagnostic Interview (3.0) assessed 12-month PTSD and other common DSM-IV disorders. Respondents with 12-month PTSD were assessed for single versus multiple TEs implicated in their symptoms. Associations were examined with age of onset (AOO), functional impairment, comorbidity, and PTSD symptom counts.
19.8% of respondents with 12-month PTSD reported that their symptoms were associated with multiple TEs. Cases who associated their PTSD with four or more TEs had greater functional impairment, an earlier AOO, longer duration, higher comorbidity with mood and anxiety disorders, elevated hyper-arousal symptoms, higher proportional exposures to partner physical abuse and other types of physical assault, and lower proportional exposure to unexpected death of a loved one than cases with fewer associated TEs.
A risk threshold was observed in this large-scale cross-national database wherein cases who associated their PTSD with four or more TEs presented a more “complex” clinical picture with substantially greater functional impairment and greater morbidity than other cases of PTSD. PTSD cases associated with four or more TEs may merit specific and targeted intervention strategies. Depression and Anxiety 31:130–142, 2014.
PMCID: PMC4085043  PMID: 23983056
PTSD; functional impairment; comorbidity; World Mental Health Surveys; epidemiology
11.  The prevalence and correlates of binge eating disorder in the WHO World Mental Health Surveys 
Biological psychiatry  2013;73(9):904-914.
Little population-based data exist outside the United States on the epidemiology of binge eating disorder (BED). Cross-national data on BED are presented and compared to bulimia nervosa (BN) based on the WHO World Mental Health Surveys.
Community surveys with 24,124 respondents (ages 18+) across 14 mostly upper-middle and high income countries assessed lifetime and 12-month DSM-IV mental disorders with the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Physical disorders were assessed with a chronic conditions checklist.
Country-specific lifetime prevalence estimates are consistently (median; inter-quartile range) higher for BED (1.4%;0.8–1.9%) than BN (0.8%;0.4–1.0%). Median age-of-onset is in the late teens to early 20s for both disorders but slightly younger for BN. Persistence is slightly higher for BN (6.5 years; 2.2–15.4) than BED (4.3 years; 1.0–11.7). Lifetime risk of both disorders is elevated for women and recent cohorts. Retrospective reports suggest that comorbid anxiety, mood, and disruptive behavior disorders predict subsequent onset of BN somewhat more strongly than BED and that BN predicts subsequent comorbid psychiatric disorders somewhat more strongly than does BED. Significant comorbidities with physical conditions are due almost entirely to BN and BED predicting subsequent onset of these conditions, again with BN somewhat stronger than BED. Role impairments are similar for BN and BED. Fewer than half of lifetime BN or BED cases receive treatment.
BED represents a public health problem at least equal to BN. Low treatment rates highlight the clinical importance of questioning patients about eating problems even when not included among presenting complaints.
PMCID: PMC3628997  PMID: 23290497
binge eating disorder; epidemiology; WHO World Mental Health Surveys; bulimia nervosa; comorbidity; treatment
12.  Dissociation in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Evidence from the World Mental Health Surveys 
Biological psychiatry  2012;73(4):302-312.
Although the proposal for a dissociative subtype of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in DSM-5 is supported by considerable clinical and neurobiological evidence, this evidence comes mostly from referred samples in Western countries. Cross-national population epidemiologic surveys were analyzed to evaluate generalizability of the subtype in more diverse samples.
Interviews were administered to 25,018 respondents in 16 countries in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys. The Composite International Diagnostic Interview was used to assess 12-month DSM-IV PTSD and other common DSM-IV disorders. Items from a checklist of past-month nonspecific psychological distress were used to assess dissociative symptoms of depersonalization and derealization. Differences between PTSD with and without these dissociative symptoms were examined across a variety of domains, including index trauma characteristics, prior trauma history, childhood adversity, sociodemographic characteristics, psychiatric comorbidity, functional impairment, and treatment seeking.
Dissociative symptoms were present in 14.4% of respondents with 12-month DSM-IV/Composite International Diagnostic Interview PTSD and did not differ between high and low/middle income countries. Symptoms of dissociation in PTSD were associated with high counts of re-experiencing symptoms and net of these symptom counts with male sex, childhood onset of PTSD, high exposure to prior (to the onset of PTSD) traumatic events and childhood adversities, prior histories of separation anxiety disorder and specific phobia, severe role impairment, and suicidality.
These results provide community epidemiologic data documenting the value of the dissociative subtype in distinguishing a meaningful proportion of severe and impairing cases of PTSD that have distinct correlates across a diverse set of countries.
PMCID: PMC3589990  PMID: 23059051
Dissociation; dissociative subtype; DSM-5; epidemiology; nosology; posttraumatic stress disorder; World Mental Health Surveys
13.  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
14.  Early-life mental disorders and adult household income in the World Mental Health Surveys 
Biological Psychiatry  2012;72(3):228-237.
Better information on the human capital costs of early-onset mental disorders could increase sensitivity of policy-makers to the value of expanding initiatives for early detection-treatment. Data are presented on one important aspect of these costs: the associations of early-onset mental disorders with adult household income.
Data come from the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys in eleven high income, five upper-middle income, and six low/lower-middle income countries. Information about 15 lifetime DSM-IV mental disorders as of age of completing education, retrospectively assessed with the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview, was used to predict current household income among respondents ages 18-64 (n = 37,741) controlling for level of education. Gross associations were decomposed to evaluate mediating effects through major components of household income.
Early-onset mental disorders are associated with significantly reduced household income in high and upper-middle income countries but not low/lower-middle income countries, with associations consistently stronger among women than men. Total associations are largely due to low personal earnings (increased unemployment, decreased earnings among the employed) and spouse earnings (decreased probabilities of marriage and, if married, spouse employment and low earnings of employed spouses). Individual-level effect sizes are equivalent to 16-33% of median within-country household income, while population-level effect sizes are in the range 1.0-1.4% of Gross Household Income.
Early mental disorders are associated with substantial decrements in income net of education at both individual and societal levels. Policy-makers should take these associations into consideration in making healthcare research and treatment resource allocation decisions.
PMCID: PMC3402018  PMID: 22521149
epidemiology; mental disorders; early-onset; income; cross-national; WHO World Mental Health (WMH)
15.  Screening for Serious Mental Illness in the General Population with the K6 screening scale: Results from the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) Survey Initiative 
Data are reported on the background and performance of the K6 screening scale for serious mental illness (SMI) in the World Health Organization (WHO) World Mental Health (WMH) surveys. The K6 is a 6-item scale developed to provide a brief valid screen for DSM-IV SMI based on the criteria in the US ADAMHA Reorganization Act. Although methodological studies have documented good K6 validity in a number of countries, optimal scoring rules have never been proposed. Such rules are presented here based on analysis of K6 data in nationally or regionally representative WMH surveys in 14 countries (combined n = 41,770 respondents). Twelve-month prevalence of DSM-IV SMI was assessed with the fully-structured WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Nested logistic regression analysis was used to generate estimates of the predicted probability of SMI for each respondent from K6 scores taking into consideration the possibility of variable concordance as a function of respondent age, gender, education, and country. Concordance, assessed by calculating the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC), was generally substantial (Median .83; Range .76-.89; Inter-quartile range .81-.85). Based on this result, optimal scaling rules are presented for use by investigators working with the K6 scale in the countries studied.
PMCID: PMC3659799  PMID: 20527002
K6 screening scale; psychiatric epidemiology; serious mental illness (SMI)
16.  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
17.  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
18.  Treatment of suicidal people around the world † 
Suicide is a leading cause of death worldwide; however, little information is available about the treatment of suicidal people, or about barriers to treatment.
To examine the receipt of mental health treatment and barriers to care among suicidal people around the world.
Twenty-one nationally representative samples worldwide (n=55 302; age 18 years and over) from the World Health Organization’s World Mental Health Surveys were interviewed regarding past-year suicidal behaviour and past-year healthcare use. Suicidal respondents who had not used services in the past year were asked why they had not sought care.
Two-fifths of the suicidal respondents had received treatment (from 17% in low-income countries to 56% in high-income countries), mostly from a general medical practitioner (22%), psychiatrist (15%) or non-psychiatrist (15%). Those who had actually attempted suicide were more likely to receive care. Low perceived need was the most important reason for not seeking help (58%), followed by attitudinal barriers such as the wish to handle the problem alone (40%) and structural barriers such as financial concerns (15%). Only 7% of respondents endorsed stigma as a reason for not seeking treatment.
Most people with suicide ideation, plans and attempts receive no treatment. This is a consistent and pervasive finding, especially in low-income countries. Improving the receipt of treatment worldwide will have to take into account culture-specific factors that may influence the process of help-seeking.
PMCID: PMC3167419  PMID: 21263012
19.  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
20.  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
21.  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
22.  Childhood adversities and adult psychopathology in the WHO World Mental Health Surveys 
The British Journal of Psychiatry  2010;197(5):378-385.
Although significant associations of childhood adversities with adult mental disorders are widely documented, most studies focus on single childhood adversities predicting single disorders.
To examine joint associations of 12 childhood adversities with first onset of 20 DSM–IV disorders in World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys in 21 countries.
Nationally or regionally representative surveys of 51 945 adults assessed childhood adversities and lifetime DSM–IV disorders with the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).
Childhood adversities were highly prevalent and interrelated. Childhood adversities associated with maladaptive family functioning (e.g. parental mental illness, child abuse, neglect) were the strongest predictors of disorders. Co-occurring childhood adversities associated with maladaptive family functioning had significant subadditive predictive associations and little specificity across disorders. Childhood adversities account for 29.8% of all disorders across countries.
Childhood adversities have strong associations with all classes of disorders at all life-course stages in all groups of WMH countries. Long-term associations imply the existence of as-yet undetermined mediators.
PMCID: PMC2966503  PMID: 21037215
23.  Associations of serious mental illness with earnings: results from the WHO World Mental Health surveys 
The British Journal of Psychiatry  2010;197(2):114-121.
Burden-of-illness data, which are often used in setting healthcare policy-spending priorities, are unavailable for mental disorders in most countries.
To examine one central aspect of illness burden, the association of serious mental illness with earnings, in the World Health Organization (WHO) World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys.
The WMH Surveys were carried out in 10 high-income and 9 low- and middle-income countries. The associations of personal earnings with serious mental illness were estimated.
Respondents with serious mental illness earned on average a third less than median earnings, with no significant between-country differences (χ2(9) = 5.5–8.1, P = 0.52–0.79). These losses are equivalent to 0.3–0.8% of total national earnings. Reduced earnings among those with earnings and the increased probability of not earning are both important components of these associations.
These results add to a growing body of evidence that mental disorders have high societal costs. Decisions about healthcare resource allocation should take these costs into consideration.
PMCID: PMC2913273  PMID: 20679263
24.  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
25.  Cross-National Analysis of the Associations between Traumatic Events and Suicidal Behavior: Findings from the WHO World Mental Health Surveys 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(5):e10574.
Community and clinical data have suggested there is an association between trauma exposure and suicidal behavior (i.e., suicide ideation, plans and attempts). However, few studies have assessed which traumas are uniquely predictive of: the first onset of suicidal behavior, the progression from suicide ideation to plans and attempts, or the persistence of each form of suicidal behavior over time. Moreover, few data are available on such associations in developing countries. The current study addresses each of these issues.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Data on trauma exposure and subsequent first onset of suicidal behavior were collected via structured interviews conducted in the households of 102,245 (age 18+) respondents from 21 countries participating in the WHO World Mental Health Surveys. Bivariate and multivariate survival models tested the relationship between the type and number of traumatic events and subsequent suicidal behavior. A range of traumatic events are associated with suicidal behavior, with sexual and interpersonal violence consistently showing the strongest effects. There is a dose-response relationship between the number of traumatic events and suicide ideation/attempt; however, there is decay in the strength of the association with more events. Although a range of traumatic events are associated with the onset of suicide ideation, fewer events predict which people with suicide ideation progress to suicide plan and attempt, or the persistence of suicidal behavior over time. Associations generally are consistent across high-, middle-, and low-income countries.
This study provides more detailed information than previously available on the relationship between traumatic events and suicidal behavior and indicates that this association is fairly consistent across developed and developing countries. These data reinforce the importance of psychological trauma as a major public health problem, and highlight the significance of screening for the presence and accumulation of traumatic exposures as a risk factor for suicide ideation and attempt.
PMCID: PMC2869349  PMID: 20485530

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