, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 9-15

The prevalence of mental disorders in rural office practice

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of mental disorders in rural primary care office practice.

DESIGN: Patient interview; chart review. SETTING: Two rural primary care office practices.

PATIENTS: Three hundred-fifty scheduled or walk-in patients age 18 years or older.

MEASUREMENTS: Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (MOS SF-36), the Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders (PRIME-MD), physical health using Greenfield’s index of coexistent disease (ICED), and health care utilization using the number of office visits and total office and laboratory charges six months before until six months after the interview.

RESULTS: Of these patients 34% met criteria for one or more of the 18 mental disorders evaluated by the PRIME-MD; 19% met criteria for specific disorders according to criteria from theDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Revised Third Edition (DSM-III-R). Mood disorders were most common (21.7%), followed by anxiety disorders (12.3%), somatoform disorders (11.1%), probable alcohol abuse or dependence (6.0%), and eating disorders (2.0%). By logistic regression, there was an association of age, sex, race (black), and education with lower prevalence of various mental disorder categories. Even after adjustment for demographic variables and physical health (ICED score), those with PRIME-MD diagnoses had significantly lower function as measured by the eight MOS SF-36 scales and higher utilization of office services (p<.001).

CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of mental disorders in rural primary care office practice is as high as in urban office practice.

Received from the Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Univ. of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville.
Presented in part at the Eighth Annual National Institute of Mental Health International Research Conference on Mental Health Problems in the General Health Care Sector, McLean, Virginia, September 9, 1994.
Supported as part of the research effort of the Southeastern Rural Mental Health Research Center (NIMH P50MH49173).