Prevalence of mental and social disorders in adults attending primary care centers in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Croat Med J. 2006 Jun;47(3):478-84.


Aim: To determine the prevalence of mental and social disorders in adults who attend primary care health centers in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Methods: Sixty-nine family physicians from the Primary Care Research Network in Bosnia and Herzegovina each invited 20 randomly selected patients from their practices to complete the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ), which consists of 26-58 questions about symptoms and signs of depression, anxiety, somatization disorder, eating disorders, and alcoholism. A total of 1574 patients were invited to participate in the study. Physicians reviewed the PHQ and calculated the final score, which determined a provisional diagnosis. Definitive diagnosis was determined by further questioning and clinical knowledge of the patient. Data collection was performed between November 2003 and January 2004. Lists of non-participants were maintained by the physicians.

Results: The response rate was 82%. Of 1285 respondents, 61% were women. At least one type of mental or social disorder was found in 26% of the respondents, and 12% had more than one disorder. Somatization disorder, major depression syndrome, and panic syndrome were experienced by 16%, 10%, and 14% of respondents, respectively, while 5% or less were suffering from eating disorders or alcohol abuse. More women than men had somatization disorder, panic syndrome, and binge eating disorder, while more men than women reported alcohol abuse.

Conclusion: More than one-quarter of all adults who attended family medicine centers in Bosnia and Herzegovina presented with at least one type of mental or social disturbance. New health policies, strengthened professional training, and accessible support networks need to be developed throughout the country.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina / epidemiology
  • Community Health Centers
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Health Care*