Epidemiology of major depressive disorder: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcoholism and Related Conditions

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2005 Oct;62(10):1097-106. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.62.10.1097.


Objective: To present nationally representative data on 12-month and lifetime prevalence, correlates, and comorbidity of DSM-IV major depressive disorder (MDD) among adults in the United States. DESIGN/SETTING/ PARTICIPANTS: Face-to-face survey of more than 43 000 adults aged 18 years and older residing in households and group quarters in the United States.

Main outcome measures: Prevalence and associations of MDD with sociodemographic correlates and Axis I and II disorders.

Results: The prevalence of 12-month and lifetime DSM-IV MDD was 5.28% (95% confidence interval, 4.98-5.57) and 13.23% (95% confidence interval, 12.64-13.81), respectively. Being female; Native American; middle-aged; widowed, separated, or divorced; and low income increased risk, and being Asian, Hispanic, or black decreased risk (P<.05). Women were significantly more likely to receive treatment than men. Both current and lifetime MDD were significantly associated with other specific psychiatric disorders, notably substance dependence, panic and generalized anxiety disorder, and several personality disorders.

Conclusions: This large survey suggests a higher prevalence of MDD in the US population than large-sample estimates from the 1980s and 1990s. The shift in highest lifetime risk from young to middle-aged adults is an important transformation in the distribution of MDD in the United States and specificity in risk for an age-period cohort. Associations between MDD and Axis I and II disorders were strong and significant, with variation within broad categories by specific diagnoses signaling the need for attention to the genetic and environmental reasons for such variation, as well as the implications for treatment response.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology*
  • Diagnosis, Dual (Psychiatry)
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology