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Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2003 Jun;253(3):149-53.

Is recurrent brief depression an expression of mood spectrum disorders in young people? Results of a large community sample.

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Division of Psychiatry, Department of Public Health University of Cagliari, Via Liguria 13, 09127, Cagliari, Italy.


The clinical relevance of Recurrent Brief Depression (RBD) has not received sufficient attention to date and continues to represent a controversial issue. The present study was carried out in a community sample to evaluate the lifetime prevalence of RDB, the degree of comorbidity, as well as possible risk factors. Subjects from a community survey in Sardinia (Italy) were randomly selected from registers of a rural, an urban and a mining area (n=1040, 461 males, 579 females). Interviews were carried out by physicians using the Italian version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview Simplified which had been modified for the purpose of this study. Lifetime prevalence of RBD was 7.6%; 5.8% in males, 9% in females. Subjects aged 18 to 24 years presented higher frequencies (13.8%, OR 2.2) than those aged 25 or over. Comorbidity with Major Depression was particularly frequent. RBD was furthermore associated with suicide attempts and substance abuse, thereby constituting an effective health problem. Further epidemiological and clinical studies of RBD are warranted in order to develop specific treatments and prevention strategies.

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