The pattern of physical comorbidity and the psychosocial determinants of depression: a prospective cohort study on a representative sample of family practice attendees in Slovenia

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Objectives: This study aims to present the patterns of physical comorbidity in depressed patients and factors strongly associated with depression in a representative sample of Slovenian family practice attendees.

Methods: Medical data was obtained for 911 general practice attendees. Of them, 221 (24.3%) were diagnosed as depressed. The depressive states of the subjects were evaluated using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). Physical comorbidity was assessed with a questionnaire covering the most common health problems in the Slovenian adult population. Several psychosocial factors were also analysed.

Results: Those variables significantly related to ICD depression were included in multivariate binary logistic regression analysis, adjusted by age, gender and education. The calculation included the chi-square, odds ratio (OR) with confidence interval (95% CI) and P-value. A P-value < 0.05 was marked as statistically significant.

Conclusions: There was no significant difference in the number of concurrent chronic diseases in depressed and non-depressed subjects. The risk of depression was increased by the presence of several concomitant factors. The burden of somatic comorbidity was shown to be smaller than the impact of psychosocial determinants, which also acted as protective factors: the feeling of safety at home and the absence of problems in intimate relationships. The abuse of alcohol and drugs by a family member and current poor financial situation were strongly associated with depression. The impact of concurrent incontinence and chronic bowel disease was also important, though somewhat weaker.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia 2: Department of Mental Health Sciences, Royal Free and University College Medical School, University College London, London, UK 3: General Practice Research Frameworks, University College London, London, UK

Publication date: September 1, 2011

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