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J Psychiatr Res. 2014 Jun;53:23-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.02.006. Epub 2014 Feb 15.

The role of common mental and physical disorders in days out of role in the Iraqi general population: results from the WHO World Mental Health Surveys.

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Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Qadisia University, Diwania, Iraq.
Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, 180 Longwood Ave., Boston, MA, USA.
Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, 180 Longwood Ave., Boston, MA, USA. Electronic address:
Universitair Psychiatrisch Centrum - KU Leuven (UPC-KUL), Campus Gasthuisberg, Herestraat 49, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium.


In an effort to support mental health policy planning efforts in conjunction with the reconstruction of Iraq, a nationally representative face-to-face household survey was carried out that assessed the prevalence and correlates of common mental disorders in the Iraqi population. A total of 4332 adult (ages 18+) respondents were interviewed (95.2% response rate). The current report presents data on the role impairments (number of days out-of-role in the past 30 days) associated with the nine mental disorders assessed in the survey in comparison to the impairments associated with ten chronic physical disorders also assessed in the survey. These disorders were all assessed with the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Days out-of-role were assessed with the WHO Disability Assessment Schedule. Both individual-level and societal-level effects of the disorders were estimated. Strongest individual-level predictors were bipolar and drug abuse disorders (176-195 days per year), with mental disorders making up five of the seven strongest predictors. The strongest population-level predictors were headache/migraine and arthritis (22-12% population proportions). Overall population proportions were 57% of days out-of-role due to the chronic physical disorders considered here and 18% for the mental disorders. Despite commonly-occurring mental disorders accounting for more individual-level days out-of-role than the physical disorders, mental disorders are much less likely to receive treatment in Iraq (e.g., due to stigma). These results highlight the need for culturally tailored mental health prevention and treatment programs in Iraq.


Burden of disease; Days out of role; Human capital loss; Mental disorders; Prevalence

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