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Arch Iran Med. 2012 Apr;15(4):201-4. doi: 012154/AIM.005.

Trends in change of mental health status in the population of Tehran between 1998 and 2007.

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Psychosomatic Ward Imam Khomeini Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.



According to a WHO report, the world will face great changes in the epidemiology of diseases in next three decades. Infectious and communicable diseases will be replaced by mental disorders at an alarming rate (9), making psychiatric disorders the most common cause of disability and premature death. This study compares trends and changes in the mental health of the residents of Tehran (≥ 15 years old) in 1998 and 2007.


This study was an overview of two cross-sectional, descriptive researches that were performed in 1998 and 2007. The study populations in these two studies were residents of Tehran. Samples were recruited by regular randomized cluster sampling. In both studies, the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28) was used to assess mental health. Trained physicians and health experts completed questionnaires, and data were analyzed by SPSS software (Version 18).


The results showed that 21.5% of participants in the 1998 survey suffered from mental disorders, of which 27.7% were women and 14.9% were men. In 2007, this figure increased to 34.2% (37.9% in woman and 28.6% in men). The prevalence of mental disorders increased from 1998 until 2007 by about 1.6 fold (1.4 fold for women and 1.9 fold for men). In both studies, the risk of mental disorders increased with increasing age. Anxiety symptoms were more prevalent in both studies compared to somatization, depression, and social dysfunction scales.


The result shows a dramatic increase of mental disorder prevalence in Tehran from 1998 until 2007. We believe there is a lack of sufficient and qualified facilities for mental health provisions in Tehran. Based on these facts, policymakers and officials have to place greater importance in controlling stressful situations that predispose people to mental disorders, with the intent to improve the mental health of Tehran residents.

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