, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 201-210
Date: 19 May 2009

Prevalence of mental disorders in primary care: results from the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders in primary care study (DASMAP)

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Previous epidemiological studies have revealed a high prevalence of mental disorders among primary care (PC) patients. However, most studies have methodological limitations (e.g. absence of structured clinical interviews, two-phase designs) that affect the generalizability of their results. The main objective of the present study was to estimate the lifetime and 12-month prevalence of mental disorders in the PC of Catalonia (Spain), using structured clinical interviews and a one-phase design.


One-phase cross-sectional survey. A representative probability sample without replacement of individuals aged 18 years or older attending PC for a medical visit were interviewed between October 2005 and March 2006. The interviews included SCID-I for depressive and anxiety disorders and the MINI interview for other mental disorders. A total of 3,815 patients from 77 PC centres were included in the statistical analyses.


45.1% of respondents reported at least one lifetime mental disorder and 30.2% reported at least one mental disorder in the previous 12 months. The most common mental disorders were major depression (9.6%), panic disorder (7.0%), specific phobia (6.6%), and generalized anxiety disorder (3.8%). There was a high comorbidity between mood and anxiety disorders, as well as between mental disorders and some chronic physical conditions.


There is a high prevalence and comorbidity of mental disorders in the PC of Catalonia. Public health policies should reinforce the role of family physicians in the detection and treatment of persons with mental disorders.