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J Affect Disord. 2013 Mar 5;145(3):308-14. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2012.08.008. Epub 2012 Aug 30.

Major depression in the era of economic crisis: a replication of a cross-sectional study across Greece.

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University Mental Health Research Institute (UMHRI), Athens, Greece.



The study endeavoured to gauge the impact of the current economic crisis on the mental health of the Greek population. Particularly, it explored changes in the prevalence rates of major depression between 2008 and 2011, and its link to financial hardship. Furthermore, the study also identified potential predictors of major depression in 2011.


Two nationwide cross-sectional teleophone surveys were conducted in 2008 and 2011 following the same methodology. A random and representative sample of 2.197 and 2.256 people, respectively, participated in the studies. Major depression was assessed with the Structural Clinical Interview, whereas financial strain with the Index of Personal Economic Distress (IPED), an original scale with good psychometric properties.


In 2011, one-month prevalence rate of major depression was found to be 8.2%, as compared to the corresponding rate in 2008, which was 3.3%. Significant increases in prevalence rates were observed for the majority of the population subgroups. A significant association was recorded between major depression and economic hardship. Young people, married persons, individuals with financial distress and people who use medication displayed increased odds of suffering from major depression in 2011.


Participants' responses concerning financial difficulties were not confirmed from collateral accounts. Moreover, the direction of causality between financial hardship and major depression is unclear.


The impact of the economic crisis on the mental health of the population is pervasive. Services and clinicians should focus on the primary prevention of major depression as well as on its timely recognition and treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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