To estimate lifetime risk and age of onset of mental disorders in the adult general population of Belgium.
Method and materials
For the World Mental Health Surveys of the World Health Organization, a representative random sample of non-institutionalized inhabitants from Belgium aged 18 or older (n = 2419) were interviewed between April 2001 and June 2002. The interview took place by means of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview, version 3.0. Lifetime prevalence, projected lifetime risk, and age-of-onset of mental disorders were assessed.
Lifetime risk for any mental disorder was 37.1%: 22.8% for mood disorders, 15.7% for anxiety disorders, and 10.8% for alcohol disorders. Median age of onset was 38 years for mood, 14 years for anxiety, and 23 years for alcohol disorders. Prevalence estimates of mood and alcohol disorders were significantly higher in the cohorts between 18 and 34 years.
This is the first study that assessed projected lifetime risk and age of onset of mental disorders in the Belgian general population. About one-third of the Belgian non-institutionalized adult population will meet the criteria for a DSM-IV mental disorder at some time during their life. Median age of onset varies from disorder to disorder and younger cohorts had higher likelihood for developing mental disorders.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Allgulander C (1989) Psychoactive drug use in a general population sample, Sweden: correlates with perceived health, psychiatric diagnoses, and mortality in an automated record-linkage study. Am J Public Health 79:1006–1010
Alonso J, Angermeyer MC, Bernert S, Bruffaerts R, Brugha TS, Bryson H, de Girolamo G, Graaf R, Demyttenaere K, Gasquet I, Haro JM, Katz SJ, Kessler RC, Kovess V, Lepine JP, Ormel J, Polidori G, Russo LJ, Vilagut G, Almansa J, Arbabzadeh-Bouchez S, Autonell J, Bernal M, Buist-Bouwman MA, Codony M, Domingo-Salvany A, Ferrer M, Joo SS, Martinez-Alonso M, Matschinger H, Mazzi F, Morgan Z, Morosini P, Palacin C, Romera B, Taub N, Vollebergh WA (2004) Prevalence of mental disorders in Europe: results from the European Study of the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders (ESEMeD) project. Acta Psychiatr Scand 109(s240):21–27
Alonso J, Angermeyer MC, Bernert S, Bruffaerts R, Brugha TS, Bryson H, de Girolamo G, Graaf R, Demyttenaere K, Gasquet I, Haro JM, Katz SJ, Kessler RC, Kovess V, Lepine JP, Ormel J, Polidori G, Russo LJ, Vilagut G, Almansa J, Arbabzadeh-Bouchez S, Autonell J, Bernal M, Buist-Bouwman MA, Codony M, Domingo-Salvany A, Ferrer M, Joo SS, Martinez-Alonso M, Matschinger H, Mazzi F, Morgan Z, Morosini P, Palacin C, Romera B, Taub N, Vollebergh WA (2004) Sampling and methods of the European Study of the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders (ESEMeD) project. Acta Psychiatr Scand 109(s420):8–20
Alonso J, Ferrer M, Romera B, Vilagut G, Angermeyer M, Bernert S, Brugha TS, Taub N, McColgen Z, de Girolamo G, Polidori G, Mazzi F, De Graaf R, Vollebergh WA, Buist-Bowman MA, Demyttenaere K, Gasquet I, Haro JM, Palacin C, Autonell J, Katz SJ, Kessler RC, Kovess V, Lepine JP, Arbabzadeh-Bouchez S, Ormel J, Bruffaerts R (2002) The European Study of the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders (ESEMeD/MHEDEA 2000) project: rationale and methods. Int J Methods Psychiatr Res 11:55–67
Andrews G, Wilkinson DD (2002) The prevention of mental disorders in young people. Med J Aust 177(7):S97–S100
Ansseau M, Reggers J (1999) Epidémiologie des troubles psychiatriques dans lan province de Liège et leur prise en charge. Plate-forme Psychiatrique Liègoise
Ansseau M, Reggers J, Nickels J (1999) Epidémiologie des troubles psychiatriques dans la province de Luxembourg. Plate-forme de concertation psychiatrique dans la province de Luxembourg, Luxembourg
American Psychiatric Association (1994) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 4th edn. American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DC
Atkinson M, Zibin S, Chuang H (1997) Characterizing quality of life among patients with chronic mental illness: a critical examination of the self-report methodology. Am J Psychiatry 154:99–105
Barrufol E, Thilmany M (1993) Anxiety, depression, somatization and alcohol abuse. Prevalence rates in a general Belgian community sample. Acta Psychiatr Belg 93:136–153
Bruffaerts R, Bonnewyn A, Van Oyen H, Demarest S, Demyttenaere K (2003) Prevalence of pure and comorbid mental disorders in Belgium. Rev Med Liege 58:741–750
Cannell CF, Marquis KH, Laurent A (1977) A summary of studies of interviewing methodology. Vital Health Stat 2(I–viii):1–78
Christie KA, Burke JD Jr., Regier DA, Rae DS, Boyd JH, Locke BZ (1988) Epidemiologic evidence for early onset of mental disorders and higher risk of drug abuse in young adults. Am J Psychiatry 145:971–975
de Graaf R, Bijl RV, Smit F, Ravelli A, Vollebergh WA (2000) Psychiatric and sociodemographic predictors of attrition in a longitudinal study: The Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study (NEMESIS). Am J Epidemiol 152:1039–1047
Demyttenaere K, Bruffaerts R, Posada-Villa J, Gasquet I, Kovess V, Lepine JP, Angermeyer MC, Bernert S, de Girolamo G, Morosini P, Polidori G, Kikkawa T, Kawakami N, Ono Y, Takeshima T, Uda H, Karam EG, Fayyad JA, Karam AN, Mneimneh ZN, Medina-Mora ME, Borges G, Lara C, de Graaf R, Ormel J, Gureje O, Shen Y, Huang Y, Zhang M, Alonso J, Haro JM, Vilagut G, Bromet EJ, Gluzman S, Webb C, Kessler RC, Merikangas KR, Anthony JC, Von Korff MR, Wang PS, Brugha TS, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Lee S, Heeringa S, Pennell BE, Zaslavsky AM, Ustun TB, Chatterji S (2004) Prevalence, severity, and unmet need for treatment of mental disorders in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys. Jama 291:2581–2590
Eaton WW, Anthony JC, Tepper S, Dryman A (1992) Psychopathology and attrition in the epidemiologic catchment area surveys. Am J Epidemiol 135:1051–1059
Elandt-Johnson RC, Johnson NL (1980) Survival models and data analysis. John Wiley & Sons, NY, pp 392–411
Giuffra LA, Risch N (1994) Diminished recall and the cohort effect of major depression: a simulation study. Psychol Med 24:375–383
Hall S, Rao K (1992) Advanced techniques of population analysis. Plenum, New York, NY
Haro JM, Arbabzadeh-Bouchez S, Brugha TS, de Girolamo G, Guyer ME, Jin R, Lepine JP, Mazzi F, Reneses B, Vilagut G, Sampson NA, Kessler RC (2006) Concordance of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview Version 3.0 (CIDI 3.0) with standardized clinical assessments in the WHO World Mental Health surveys. Int J Methods Psychiatr Res 15:167–180
Hasin D, Link B (1988) Age and recognition of depression: implications for a cohort effect in major depression. Psychol Med 18:683–688
Henderson AS, Jorm AF, Korten AE, Jacomb P, Christensen H, Rodgers B (1998) Symptoms of depression and anxiety during adult life: evidence for a decline in prevalence with age. Psychol Med 28:1321–1328
Johnston LD, O’Malley PM, Bachman JG, Schulenberg JE (2004) Monitoring the future, national survey results on drug use 1975–2003. Volume II: College Students and Adults Ages 19–45. NIH Pub. Bethesda MNIoDA (ed)
Kaplan EL, P M (1958) Nonparametric estimation from incomplete observations. J Am Stata Assoc 53:8–19
Kessler RC, Berglund P, Demler O, Jin R, Merikangas KR, Walters EE (2005) Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey replication. Arch Gen Psychiatry 62:593–602
Kessler RC, Ustun TB (2004) The World Mental Health (WMH) survey initiative version of the World Health Organization (WHO) composite international diagnostic interview (CIDI). Int J Methods Psychiatr Res 13:93–121
Khatri N, Romney DM, Pelletier G (2001) Validity of self-reports about quality of life among patients with schizophrenia. Psychiatr Serv 52:534–535
Klerman GL, Weissman MM (1989) Increasing rates of depression. Jama 261:2229–2235
Knight K, Simpson DD, Hiller ML (2002) Screeining and referral for substance-abuse treatment in the criminal justice system. In: Treatment of drug offenders: policies and issues. Springer, New York, p 259–272
Lee ET (1992) Statistical methods for survival data analysis, 2nd edn. John Wiley & Sons, NY, pp 482
Lloyd-Jones DM, Larson MG, Beiser A, Levy D (1999) Lifetime risk of developing coronary heart disease. Lancet 353:89–92
Murray CJL, AD L (1996) Global health statistics. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass
Regier DA (2000) Community diagnosis counts. Arch Gen Psychiatry 57:223–224
SAS II (1999) SAS Software, Version 8.0, 4th edn. In: Cary NC SAS Institute Inc, USA
Schouten LJ, Straatman H, Kiemeney LA, Verbeek AL (1994) Cancer incidence: life table risk versus cumulative risk. J Epidemiol Comm Health 48:596–600
Seshadri S, Wolf PA, Beiser A, Au R, McNulty K, White R, D’Agostino RB (1997) Lifetime risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The impact of mortality on risk estimates in the Framingham study. Neurology 49:1498–1504
Shah BV, Barnwell BG, GS B (1997) Sudaan user’s manual release 8.0.1., Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, NC
Simon GE, VonKorff M (1995) Recall of psychiatric history in cross-sectional surveys: implications for epidemiologic research. Epidemiol Rev 17:221–227
Wechsler H, Lee JE, Kuo M, Seibring M, Nelson TF, Lee H (2002) Trends in college binge drinking during a period of increased prevention efforts. Findings from 4 Harvard school of public health college alcohol study surveys: 1993–2001. J Am Coll Health 50:203–217
WHO International Consortium Psychiatric Epidemiology (2000) Cross-national comparisons of the prevalences and correlates of mental disorders. Bull World Health Organ 78:413–426
Wittchen HU (1994) Reliability and validity studies of the WHO–Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI): a critical review. J Psychiatr Res 28:57–84
Wulsin LR, Vaillant GE, Wells VE (1999) A systematic review of the mortality of depression. Psychosom Med 61:6–17
The ESEMeD survey was carried out in conjunction with the World Health Organization World Mental Health (WMH) Survey Initiative. We thank the WMH staff for assistance with instrumentation, fieldwork, and data analysis. These activities were supported by the United States National Institute of Mental Health (R01MH070884), the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Pfizer Foundation, the US Public Health Service (R13-MH066849, R01-MH069864, and R01 DA016558), the Fogarty International Center (FIRCA R01-TW006481), the Pan American Health Organization, Eli Lilly and Company, Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc., GlaxoSmithKline, and Bristol-Myers Squibb. A complete list of WMH publications can be found at http://www.hcp.med.harvard.edu/wmh. The ESEMeD project is funded by the European Commission (Contracts QLG5-1999-01042; SANCO 2004123), the Piedmont Region (Italy), Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain (FIS 00/0028), Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología, Spain (SAF 2000-158-CE), Departament de Salut, Generalitat de Catalunya, Spain, and other local agencies and by an unrestricted educational grant from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Between 2000 and 2005, the study in Belgium was entirely sponsored by an unrestricted educational grant from GSK, whereas from 2005 onwards the study was sponsored by both GSK and the European Union (contract SANCO 2004123).
About this article
Cite this article
Bonnewyn, A., Bruffaerts, R., Vilagut, G. et al. Lifetime risk and age-of-onset of mental disorders in the Belgian general population. Soc Psychiat Epidemiol 42, 522–529 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-007-0191-2
- mental disorders
- lifetime risk
- lifetime prevalence
- age of onset