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Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry

Print version ISSN 1516-4446


VIANA, Maria Carmen  and  ANDRADE, Laura Helena. Lifetime Prevalence, age and gender distribution and age-of-onset of psychiatric disorders in the São Paulo Metropolitan Area, Brazil: results from the São Paulo Megacity Mental Health Survey. Rev. Bras. Psiquiatr. [online]. 2012, vol.34, n.3, pp.249-260. ISSN 1516-4446.

OBJECTIVES: To estimate prevalence, age-of-onset, gender distribution and identify correlates of lifetime psychiatric disorders in the São Paulo Metropolitan Area (SPMA). METHODS: The São Paulo Megacity Mental Health Survey assessed psychiatric disorders on a probabilistic sample of 5,037 adult residents in the SPMA, using the World Mental Health Survey Version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Response rate was 81.3%. RESULTS: Lifetime prevalence for any disorder was 44.8%; estimated risk at age 75 was 57.7%; comorbidity was frequent. Major depression, specific phobias and alcohol abuse were the most prevalent across disorders; anxiety disorders were the most frequent class. Early age-of-onset for phobic and impulse-control disorders and later age-of-onset for mood disorders were observed. Women were more likely to have anxiety and mood disorders, whereas men, substance use disorders. Apart from conduct disorders, more frequent in men, there were no gender differences in impulse-control disorders. There was a consistent trend of higher prevalence in the youngest cohorts. Low education level was associated to substance use disorders. CONCLUSIONS: Psychiatric disorders are highly prevalent among the general adult population in the SPMA, with frequent comorbidity, early age-of-onset for most disorders, and younger cohorts presenting higher rates of morbidity. Such scenario calls for vigorous public health action.

Keywords : São Paulo Megacity Mental Health Survey; World Mental Health Surveys; Psychiatric Epidemiology; Population-Based Studies; Cross-Sectional Surveys; Developing Countries.

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