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Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2013 Dec 2. [Epub ahead of print]

Debt and depression among the Dibao population in northwestern China.

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  • 1Beijing Normal University, Beijing, P.R. China.



With the rapid development of economy, depression disorder is not only a public health issue but also a socioeconomic problem and attracting more and more attention in China.


The target of this study is to examine the prevalence of depression and the related risk factors in the Dibao population in northwestern China.


A cross-sectional analysis in a random sample survey conducted in three northwestern Chinese cities in 2007. The data from 4459 respondents with completed Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CES-D) scales were evaluated to explore the key risk factors for depression. Using depression as a binary variable according to the cutoff of the CES-D score and then as a continuous variable, multiple logistic and line regression analysis were performed to compare the odds ratio and the weight of different risk factors for depression.


The prevalence of depression in non-Dibao population was 34.7% but that in the Dibao population was 50.0% (p < .001). After adjusting for important confounders, Dibao population had an odds ratio (OR) of 1.38 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.16-1.63) to have possible depression compared to those non-Dibao people. Furthermore, depression was associated with a higher OR of indebtedness (OR: 1.59, 95% CI: 1.31-1.93), and a small amount of debt would increase the possibility of depression for Dibao people (OR: 1.69, 95% CI: 1.28-2.23). In addition, gender, body mass index (BMI), tobacco use and social network were also important risk factors for depression in the Dibao population. Using depression as a continuous variable, being a member of the Dibao population and being indebted will add 2.06 and 1.83 to the CES-D score, respectively, compared with the non-Dibao population and not being indebted. A comparison of the odds ratios of depression between the Dibao and the non-Dibao population showed that factors such as gender, BMI, tobacco use, social network and indebtedness were statistically significant in the Dibao population but were not statistically significant in the non-Dibao population. Additionally, having a savings account was statistically significant in the non-Dibao population but not in the Dibao population.


It was not surprising, as proved by other studies, that gender, obesity and social network were risk factors associated with depression in the Dibao population. Our findings indicated that a small amount of indebtedness was also closely related to depression in the Dibao population.

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