Objective: Our objectives were (a) to determine which common mental disorders are associated with asthma in the general population after controlling for age and sex, and (b) to assess whether the associations of mental disorders with asthma are consistent across diverse countries.
Method: Eighteen population surveys of household-residing adults were carried out in 17 countries (N=85,088). Mental disorders were assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview 3.0, a fully structured diagnostic interview. The disorders considered here are 12-month anxiety disorders (generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder/agoraphobia, posttraumatic stress disorder and social phobia), depressive disorders (dysthymia and major depressive disorder) and alcohol use disorders (abuse and dependence). Asthma was ascertained by self-reports of lifetime diagnosis among a subsample (n=42,697).
Results: Pooled estimates of age-adjusted and sex-adjusted odds of mental disorders among persons with asthma relative to those without asthma were 1.6 [95% confidence interval (95% CI)=1.4, 1.8] for depressive disorders, 1.5 (95% CI=1.4, 1.7) for anxiety disorders and 1.7 (95% CI=1.4, 2.1) for alcohol use disorders.
Conclusion: This first cross-national study of the relationship between asthma and mental disorders confirms that a range of common mental disorders occurs with greater frequency among persons with asthma. These results attest to the importance of clinicians in diverse settings being alert to the co-occurrence of these conditions.