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Association of depressive symptoms and social functioning in primary care service, Brazil

Marcelo Pio de Almeida Fleck Ana Flávia Barros da Silva Lima Sérgio Louzada Gustavo Schestasky Alexandre Henriques Vivian Roxo Borges Suzi Camey About the authors

OBJECTIVE: Depressive disorders represent a major public health problem due to their high prevalence and psychosocial impact. Depressed patients are assiduous users of primary care services, although their depression is very often misdiagnosed. The objective of the study is to evaluate the association between depressive symptoms and social functioning in individuals that seek primary care services in a Brazilian capital. METHODS: The study included 2,201 primary care users in the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil. The participants' physical and emotional health was assessed through an interview using a questionnaire including 2 general questions from the World Health Organization's Quality of Life instrument (WHOQOL - brief); other questions from the Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form 12 (SF-12), MHI 5 (MHI-5), Centers for Epidemiologic Studies - Depression (CES-D), and additional questions about work loss days and health care utilization. RESULTS: Of all individuals, 79.5% were women aged on average 40 years. The intensity of depressive symptoms (measured by CES-D) was 20.2 for women and 16.2 for men. All parameters studied had an inverse relationship with the intensity of depressive symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: This study reinforce the findings that depressive symptoms have a strong association with poor social functioning and quality of life and a higher utilization of health resources in primary care patients.

Depression; Primary health care; Cost of illness; Evaluation; Quality of life; Mental health

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