2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Assessing the prevalence of clinically relevant depressive symptoms and their possible variation by country and over time could be a valuable resource to inform the development of public health policies and preventive resources to reduce mental health burden. We aimed to assess cross-national differences in the point prevalence of clinically relevant depressive symptoms in Europe in 2018–20, and to evaluate point prevalence differences between countries and over time between 2013–15 and 2018–20. Methods: In this population-based study, data from participants in the second and third waves of the European Health Interview Survey (EHIS-2 from 2013 to 2015 and EHIS-3 from 2018 to 2020) from 30 European countries were used (n=542 580). From the total sample, 283 692 participants belonging to EHIS-3 were included in the study (52·4% women and 47·5% men). The non-response in EHIS-3 ranged by country, from 12% to 78%. Point prevalence of clinically relevant depressive symptoms was evaluated using a cutoff score of 10 or more for the 8-item version of the Patient Health Questionnaire. Crude prevalence ratios and adjusted prevalence ratios (aPRs) were obtained to assess differences in the prevalence between countries and over time within countries. Findings: The point prevalence of clinically relevant depressive symptoms in Europe in 2018–20 was 6·54% (95% CI 6·34–6·73), ranging across countries from 1·85% (1·53–2·17) in Greece to 10·72% (10·04–11·40) in Sweden. Compared with the other European countries, those with the lowest aPRs were Greece, Serbia, and Cyprus and those with the highest aPRs were Belgium, Slovenia, and Croatia. A small but significant increase in the prevalence between EHIS-2 and EHIS-3 was observed (aPR 1·11 [1·07–1·14]). A wide variability over time in the point prevalence within countries was observed, ranging from an aPR of 0·63 (0·54–0·74) in Hungary to 1·88 (1·53–2·31) in Slovenia. Interpretation: This study, based on large and representative datasets and a valid and reliable screening tool for the assessment of depression, indicates that the point prevalence of clinically relevant depressive symptoms in Europe from 2013 to 2020 remains relatively stable, with wide variability between countries. These findings could be considered a baseline for monitoring the prevalence of clinically relevant depressive symptoms in Europe, and could inform policy for the development of preventive strategies for depression both at a country and European level. Funding: Center for Biomedical Research in Epidemiology and Public Health Network and AGAUR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e889-e898
JournalThe Lancet Public Health
Volume8
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

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