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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2005 May;111(5):341-50.

Common mental disorders and use of general health services: a review of the literature on population-based studies.

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Department of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



To review population-based studies on the association between common mental disorders and the use of general (non-mental) health care services.


Literature search in Medline and PsychLit databases. Only studies with a prospective design and correction for somatic morbidity were included for review.


On the most general level of outcomes considered and in the majority of studies, mental disorders were associated with higher service use. This general tendency is not consistently reflected in the use of specific health care services, but is materialized in different patterns of out-patient and in-patient service utilization, which vary from study to study. Findings for the elderly were less clear-cut than for other age groups.


Mental disorders are related to higher general health care service use on a global, aggregated level. These associations are not specific for certain types of services.

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