Global depression statistics

July 26, 2011, BioMed Central

Depression affects 121 million people worldwide. In can affect a person's ability to work, form relationships, and destroy their quality of life. At its most severe depression can lead to suicide and is responsible for 850,000 deaths every year. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Medicine compares social conditions with depression in 18 countries across the world.

In conjunction with the World Mental Health (WMH) Survey Initiative, researchers from 20 centers collaborated to investigate the prevalence of depression around the globe. To be classified as having had a (MDE) a person was additionally required to fulfill five out of nine criteria including , loss of interest or pleasure, or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy and poor concentration.

Based on detailed interviews with over 89,000 people, the results showed that 15% of the population from high-income countries (compared to 11% for low/middle-income countries) were likely to get depression over their lifetime with 5.5% having had depression in the last year. MDE were elevated in high-income countries (28% compared to 20%) and were especially high (over 30%) in France, the Netherlands, and America. The country with the lowest incidence was China at 12% but, in contrast, MDE were very common in India (at almost 36%).

Some aspects were cross cultural – women were twice as likely to suffer depression as men and the loss of a partner, whether from death, divorce or separation, was a main contributing factor. However the contribution of age varied from country to country. Age of onset of depression was almost two years earlier in low income countries and, while the amount of difficulty a person had with aspects of their life increased with depression and how recent their last attack was, it was more apparent in people from high income countries.

Prof Evelyn Bromet from State University of New York at Stony Brook said, "This is the first study which uses a standardized method to compare depression and MDE across countries and cultures. We have shown that depression is a significant public-health concern across all regions of the world and is strongly linked to social conditions. Understanding the patterns and causes of depression can help global initiatives in reducing the impact of depression on individual lives and in reducing the burden to society."

More information: Evelyn Bromet, Laura Helena Andrade, Irving Hwang, Nancy A Sampson, Jordi Alonso, Giovanni de Girolamo, Ron de Graaf, Koen Demyttenaere, Chiyi Hu, Noboro Iwata, Aimee N Karam, Jagdish Kaur, Stanislav Kostyuchenko, Jean-Pierre Lepine, Daphna Levinson, Herbert Matschinger, Maria Elena Medina Mora, Mark Oakley Browne, Jose Posada-Villa, Maria Carmen Viana, David R Williams and Ronald C Kessler BMC Medicine (in press)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Intensive behavior therapy no better than conventional support in treating teenagers with antisocial behavior

January 19, 2018
Research led by UCL has found that intensive and costly multisystemic therapy is no better than conventional therapy in treating teenagers with moderate to severe antisocial behaviour.

Babies' babbling betters brains, language

January 18, 2018
Babies are adept at getting what they need - including an education. New research shows that babies organize mothers' verbal responses, which promotes more effective language instruction, and infant babbling is the key.

College branding makes beer more salient to underage students

January 18, 2018
In recent years, major beer companies have tried to capitalize on the salience of students' university affiliations, unveiling marketing campaigns and products—such as "fan cans," store displays, and billboard ads—that ...

Inherited IQ can increase in early childhood

January 18, 2018
When it comes to intelligence, environment and education matter – more than we think.

Modulating molecules: Study shows oxytocin helps the brain to modulate social signals

January 17, 2018
Between sights, sounds, smells and other senses, the brain is flooded with stimuli on a moment-to-moment basis. How can it sort through the flood of information to decide what is important and what can be relegated to the ...

Baby brains help infants figure it out before they try it out

January 17, 2018
Babies often amaze their parents when they seemingly learn new skills overnight—how to walk, for example. But their brains were probably prepping for those tasks long before their first steps occurred, according to researchers.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.