Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 39, Issue 11, pp 921-926

First online:

Double depression in an Australian population

  • Robert D. GoldneyAffiliated withDept. of Psychiatry, University of Adelaide, The Adelaide Clinic Email author 
  • , Laura J. FisherAffiliated withThe Adelaide Clinic

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access



Double depression, or dysthymia with superimposed major depression, is a major public health issue that imposes considerable burden on the community. Double depression and its associated morbidity have not previously been delineated in an Australian population.


A random and representative sample of the South Australian population was assessed by trained interviewers. The mood module of the Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders (PRIME-MD), the Short-Form Health Status Questionnaire (SF-36), and Assessment of Quality of Life (AQoL) instruments were administered, and data related to treatment use and role functioning were collated.


Double depression was present in 2.2% of the population. This group reported high levels of treatment-seeking behaviour with 90% seeking treatment in the last month and 42.4 % taking antidepressants. They also had a highly significantly poorer quality of life than did others in the community.


The 2.2% of the population with double depression reported high use of services with poor functioning and health-related quality of life. More effective intervention strategies are required.

Key words

Australia major depression dysthymia double depression quality of life