PREVALENCE OF DEPRESSION IN RURAL RWANDA BASED ON SYMPTOM AND FUNCTIONAL CRITERIA


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Abstract

The authors’ objective was to estimate the prevalence of major depressive disorder among Rwandans 5 years after the 1994 genocidal civil war. They interviewed a community-based random sample of adults in a rural part of Rwanda using the Hopkins Symptom Checklist and a locally developed functional impairment instrument. The authors estimated current rates of major depression using an algorithm based on the DSM-IV symptom criteria (A), distress/functional impairment criteria (C), and bereavement exclusionary criteria (E). They also examined the degree to which depressive symptoms compromise social and occupational functioning. Three hundred sixty-eight adults were interviewed, of whom 15.5% met Criteria A, C, and E for current major depression. Depressive symptoms were strongly associated with functional impairment in most major roles for men and women. The authors conclude that a significant part of this population has seriously disabling depression. Work on appropriate, feasible, safe, and effective mental health interventions should be a priority for this population.

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