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Int J Public Health. 2010 Oct;55(5):479-88. doi: 10.1007/s00038-009-0106-y. Epub 2009 Dec 22.

Depressive symptoms among adults 18-69 years in Italy: results from the Italian behavioural risk factor surveillance system, 2007.

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Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.



Little is known about the prevalence of depressive symptoms in the Italian general population, nor about help-seeking behaviours among those with depressive symptoms.


We used 2007 data from PASSI, the Italian behavioural risk factor surveillance system, based on telephone interviews of residents aged 18- 69 years. A modified version of the Patient Health Questionnaire-2 was used to explore the presence of depressive symptoms. Those with symptoms were asked about whether they had sought help. Association of depressive symptoms with risk factors and self-perceived health was evaluated.


9.4% of the interviewees met the case definition. Risk factors included older age, female sex, low educational attainment, unemployment, financial problems and chronic illnesses. Of those for whom information on help-seeking was available, 47.2% did not seek any help. Depressive symptoms were associated with poorer self-perceived health.


Population-based surveillance systems tracking the prevalence of depressive symptoms and associated risk factors and behaviours may offer needed information for planning, implementing and evaluating promotion and prevention interventions capable of reducing the number of people who go on to experience depressive episodes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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