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Z Kinder Jugendpsychiatr Psychother. 2012 Nov;40(6):399-404. doi: 10.1024/1422-4917/a000199.

Prevalence and comorbidities of adolescent depression in Germany. An analysis of Health Insurance Data.

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  • 1Centre for Social Policy Research, University of Bremen, Germany.



Data on the prevalence of depressive disorders in adolescents are scarce. We aimed to examine the administrative prevalence of depressive disorders and related comorbidities in German adolescents. A second objective of was to assess potential regional (East vs. West Germany) differences in depression prevalence.


Data of a statutory health insurance company were analysed and outpatients from 12 to 18 years of age with diagnosed depression during a one-year-period (2009) were identified.


The population at risk consisted of 140,563 adolescents. Of these, 4,295 (41.2% male; mean age: 15.5 years) had a diagnosis of depression. This equates to a prevalence of 3.1% (females: 3.7%, males: 2.5%). There were no significant differences between East and West Germany. Of all adolescents with depression, 62.5% had at least one comorbid psychiatric diagnosis, with anxiety and emotional disorders (23.7%), somatoform disorders (16.8%), hyperkinetic disorders (16.2%) and posttraumatic stress disorder (10.0%) being most frequently diagnosed.


The depression prevalence in this sample was lower than that in studies of clinical samples. There was a marked prevalence of psychiatric comorbidities, especially of internalizing disorders. In adolescents, the risk of depression seems to be comparable in both East and West Germany.

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