Self-reported frequent mental distress among adults--United States, 1993-2001

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2004 Oct 22;53(41):963-6.


Poor mental health is a major source of distress, disability, and social burden; in any given year, as many as one in five adults in the United States has a mental disorder. To identify differences among populations and factors contributing to poor mental health, CDC examined the prevalence of frequent mental distress (FMD) among U.S. adults by race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status (SES), and sex, by using aggregate data from Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys for 1993-2001. This report describes the results of that analysis, which indicated that the prevalence of FMD varied among racial/ethnic populations and increased substantially among whites and blacks. In addition, FMD was reported more frequently by women and by persons with low SES within each racial/ethnic population. Targeting adverse socioeconomic risk factors and improving access to mental health services might decrease FMD among adults and reduce racial/ethnic disparities in mental health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / ethnology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / ethnology
  • United States / epidemiology