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Arch Hellen Med, 29(1), January-February 2012, 77-84


The incidence of depression in primary health care

M. Lotti -Lykousa,1 A.A. Papadopoulos,1,2 I. Vrettos,2 K. Kamposioras,2 E. Pappa,1 P. Andriopoulos,3 D. Niakas1
1Faculty of Social Sciences, Hellenic Open University, Patras,
2Second Department of Internal Medicine, "Attikon" University General Hospital, Athens,
3Department of Nursing, University of Peloponnese, Sparta, Greece

OBJECTIVE To estimate the incidence of depression in a population sample of convenience consisting of patients that visited primary health care facilities, and to identify relationships between the development of depression and demographic characteristics and the presence of chronic diseases.

METHOD The survey was conducted in the Health Center (HC) of Gythion between November and December 2009 on 500 persons (280 women) with a mean age of 67.8±13.05 years who attended the HC on a regular basis. The patients were asked to complete the self-evaluation Zung depression scale (SDS Zung), supplemented by demographic and health-related information.

RESULTS Depressive symptoms (SDS Zung score >50) were revealed in 163 (32.6%) patients, 52 of whom were already receiving some kind of antidepressant treatment. Among the remaining patients, 111 persons (22.2% of the total population), mainly women (70%) presented various degrees of depression: 80 (16%, 22 men, 58 women) had SDS Zung score 50−59, 23 (4.6%, 8 men, 15 women) had Zung score 60−89 and 8 (1.6%) had moderate to severe depression. Subjects with chronic arthritis and those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease presented statistically higher mean SDS Zung scores (p<0.001 and p=0.009, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS Depressive symptoms are present in a significant percentage of the subjects that attend primary health care facilities. The early detection of their depression could help towards the better support of these patients.

Key words: Chronic diseases, Depression, Primary health care, Zung score.

© Archives of Hellenic Medicine