Symptoms of depression in the Estonian population: prevalence, sociodemographic correlates and social adjustment

J Affect Disord. 2004 Jan;78(1):27-35. doi: 10.1016/s0165-0327(02)00179-9.


Objective: The current study presents data on the prevalence of depressive symptoms in the Estonian population and examines associated sociodemographic factors and subjective aspects of social adjustment.

Method: The data came from the Estonian Health Interview Survey where 4711 persons aged 15-79 were interviewed. This study included 4677 respondents who answered the Emotional State Questionnaire (EST-Q), a self-rating scale of depression and anxiety. Data on the sociodemographic factors and domains of social adjustment were derived from structured interviews.

Results: Depressive symptoms were observed in 11.1% of the respondents. Depressiveness was more common among women, in older age groups, among those not married, in ethnic groups other than Estonians, in lower income groups, and among the unemployed and economically inactive respondents. Depressive subjects were less satisfied, had a more pessimistic prognosis about the future and lower self-rated health. A low level of perceived control was a significant correlate of depression. The association of depressiveness with poor subjective social adjustment remained significant even after controlling for objective circumstances.

Limitations: Depression was identified by a self-rate questionnaire, therefore results can not be generalized to clinical depression without caution.

Conclusion: Depressive symptoms in the Estonian population were strongly related to socioeconomic functioning. Results emphasize that subjective social adjustment and perceived control are important characteristics of depression and should be considered in assessment and treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Demography
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Estonia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • Self-Assessment
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires