Prevalence of minor psychiatric disorders in an adult African rural community in South Africa

Psychol Med. 1998 Sep;28(5):1137-47. doi: 10.1017/s0033291798006965.


Background: This paper reports on a two-stage community-based epidemiological study of selected minor psychiatric disorders conducted on an adult African population in South Africa.

Methods: Using a modified random cluster sampling method, 354 adults were identified as the first-stage sample, with the SRQ-20 being used as a first-stage screen. Clinical interviews based on DSM-IV checklists for generalized anxiety disorder, major depression and dysthymia were administered as the second-stage criterion to 81 subjects from the sample.

Results: The weighted prevalence for generalised anxiety and depressive disorders was 23.9% (95% CI 15.1%-32.7%), comprising: generalized anxiety 3.7%, major depression 4.8%, dysthymia 7.3%, and major depression and dysthymia 8.2%. Statistically significant associations were found between caseness and age, marital status, employment, income and educational level.

Conclusions: The results are discussed in relation to comparative local and international data as well as in the context of the current restructuring of the mental-health care system in South Africa from tertiary curative care to integrated primary mental-health care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Africa / ethnology
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • African Continental Ancestry Group
  • Age Factors
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Dysthymic Disorder / epidemiology
  • Educational Status
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Health Care Reform
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sampling Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • South Africa / epidemiology