Burden and presentation of depression among newly diagnosed individuals with TB in primary care settings in Ethiopia

Fentie Ambaw, Rosie Mayston, Charlotte Hanlon, Atalay Alem

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BACKGROUND: Understanding co-morbidity of depression and tuberculosis (TB) has been limited by challenges in measurement of depression due to overlapping symptoms, use of small hospital samples and uncontrolled analysis. This study was conducted to better understand the burden and presentation of depression, and associated factors in people with TB in primary care settings in Ethiopia.

METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional survey among 657 people newly diagnosed with TB. Symptoms of depression were measured using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). TB symptoms and other factors were captured using standardised questionnaires. The factor structure of PHQ-9 was examined. Multivariable analysis was carried out to estimate prevalence ratios.

RESULTS: The prevalence of probable depression was 54.0%. The PHQ-9 had one factor structure (alpha = 0.81). Little interest or pleasure in doing things (73.0%) was the commonest depressive symptom. Older age (Adjusted Prevalence ratio (APR) = 1.19; 95%CI = 1.06, 1.33), female sex (APR = 1.23; 95%CI = 1.18, 1.27), night sweating (APR = 1.25; 95%CI = 1.16, 1.35), pain (APR = 1.69; 95%CI = 1.24, 2.29), being underweight (APR = 1.10; 95%CI = 1.07, 1.13), duration of illness (APR = 1.35; 95%CI = 1.22, 1.50), level of education (APR = 0.93; 95%CI = 0.90, 0.95), and social support (APR = 0.89; 95%CI = 0.85, 0.93) were independently associated with probable depression.

CONCLUSIONS: Depression appears highly prevalent in people with TB and PHQ-9 seems to be a useful instrument to detect depression in the context of TB. The frequency of depressive symptoms would suggest that the occurrence of the symptoms in people with TB is in the usual manifestation of the disorder. Prospective studies are needed to understand the longitudinal relationship between TB and depression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number57
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Issue number1
Early online date7 Feb 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Feb 2017


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