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BMC Urol. 2013 Feb 16;13:11. doi: 10.1186/1471-2490-13-11.

Identifying the quality of life effects of urinary incontinence with depression in an Australian population.

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Discipline of General Practice, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia.



To explore the additive effect of urinary incontinence, in people with comorbid depression, on health related quality of life.


Males and females, 15 to 95 years (n = 3010, response rate 70.2%) were interviewed face to face in the 1998 Autumn South Australian Health Omnibus Survey.


Self-reported urinary incontinence was found in 20.3% (n=610), and depression as defined by the PRIME-MD in 15.2% (n=459) of the survey population. Urinary incontinence with comorbid depression was found in 4.3% of the overall population. Univariate analysis showed that respondents with urinary incontinence and comorbid depression were more likely to be aged between 15 and 34 years and never married when compared to those with incontinence only. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that in people with incontinence, the risk of having comorbid depression was increased by an overall health status of Fair or Poor, or the perception that their incontinence was moderately or very serious. Respondents reporting that they experienced incontinence with comorbid depression scored significantly lower than those experiencing incontinence without depression on all dimensions of the SF-36.The interaction of the presence of incontinence and the presence of depression was significantly associated with the dimensions of physical functioning.


Depression and incontinence both reduce QOL. When they occur together there appears to be an additive effect which affects both physical and mental health, perhaps by increasing a person's negative perceptions of their illness. Clinicians should identify and manage comorbid depression when treating patients who have incontinence to improve their overall QOL.

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