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Sampling and methods of the European Study of the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders (ESEMeD) project.



The European Study of Epidemiology of Mental Disorders (ESEMeD) project was designed to evaluate the prevalence, the impact and the treatment patterns in Europe. This paper presents an overview of the methods implemented in the project.


ESEMeD is a cross-sectional study in a representative sample of 21 425 adults, 18 or older, from the general population of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. The Composite International Diagnostic Interview (WMH-CIDI) was administered by home interviews from January 2001 to August 2003 using Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) technology. Data quality was controlled to ensure reliability and validity of the information obtained.


Response rate varied from 78.6% in Spain to 45.9% in France. Less than 4% of the individuals had errors in the checking procedures performed.


The sampling methodologies, comprehensive psychiatric instruments and quality control procedures used have rendered the ESEMeD database a unique and important source of information about the prevalence, the disability burden and unmet medical needs of mental disorders within Europe.

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