Background and aims: The paper informs about methods and field survey procedures used in the German National Health Interview and Examination Survey--Mental Health Supplement (GHS-MHS)--and provides 12-month prevalence estimates of affective, anxiety and somatoform disorders in the general population. Such data have previously not been available for Germany on a nationwide level.
Methods: Findings are based on a two-stage design: In the first stage all the 7124 participants of the German National Health Interview and Examination Survey (core survey) completed the Composite International Diagnostic-Screener (CIDS) for mental disorders. In the second stage 4181 probands (all screen-positive and a random sample of 50% of the screen-negative subjects) were interviewed with the full Composite International Diagnostic Interview (DIA-X-M-CIDI) by clinical interviewers. The overall response rate was 87.6%.
Results: Affective (12-months prevalence estimate: 6.3%), anxiety (9%) and somatoform disorders (7.5%) are widespread in all age groups (18 to 65 years) of the German population; women are significantly more often affected than men. The prevalence rates of somatoform and affective disorders were found to be significantly lower in the former East German Länder as compared to the former West, whereas no such difference was found with regard to anxiety disorders. All disorders resulted in considerable reduction of work productivity during the past month; affective disorders reported on average 1.3 days/month total impairment and 7.2 days/month partial impairment, indicated significantly higher reduction in work productivity than anxiety and somatoform disorders.
Conclusions: Affective, somatoform and anxiety disorders are highly prevalent mental disorders (total: 17.3%) in the German population. The result of a lower morbidity of affective and somatoform disorders in former East Germany was unexpected and requires further clarification. The findings on impairment of work productivity emphasize the economic impact of psychiatric disorders on society.