The prevalence of mental disorders in the working population over the period of global economic crisis

Can J Psychiatry. 2010 Sep;55(9):598-605. doi: 10.1177/070674371005500908.


Objectives: The ongoing global economic crisis may have affected people's mental health. This study aimed to, among a sample of the working population, estimate and compare the prevalence of depressive and anxiety disorders in different time intervals from January 2008 to October 2009 and to examine the demographic and socioeconomic correlates of mental disorders.

Methods: From January 2008 to October 2009, 3579 employees in Alberta were recruited using the random digit dialing method. Mental disorders were assessed using the World Health Organization's Composite International Diagnostic Interview-Auto 2.1. The lifetime and 12-month prevalence of depressive and anxiety disorders in different time intervals were estimated and compared.

Results: The 12-month prevalence of major depressive disorder (MDD) before September 1, 2008; between September 1, 2008, and March 1, 2009; and between March 1, 2009, and October 30, 2009, was 5.1%, 6.8%, and 7.6% (P = 0.03), respectively. The lifetime prevalence of dysthymia reported during the 3 periods was 0.4%, 0.7%, and 1.5% (P = 0.006), respectively. No changes in the 12-month prevalence of social phobia, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder were found over time.

Conclusions: The ongoing global economic crisis may have contributed to the increased prevalence of MDD. Future studies are needed to monitor the changes in the prevalence and to describe how the event may affect people's employment status, income, and health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alberta / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / economics
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / economics
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / economics
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology
  • Dysthymic Disorder / economics
  • Dysthymic Disorder / epidemiology
  • Economic Recession / statistics & numerical data*
  • Employment / economics
  • Employment / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income / statistics & numerical data
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / economics
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Socioeconomic Factors