Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 48, Issue 10, pp 1539–1554 | Cite as

Mental disorders in primary care in Israel: prevalence and risk factors

  • Neil Laufer
  • Nelly Zilber
  • Pablo Jecsmien
  • Binyamin Maoz
  • Daniel Grupper
  • Haggai Hermesh
  • Royi Gilad
  • Abraham Weizman
  • Hanan Munitz
Original Paper



Psychiatric morbidity is common among patients in primary care services and leads to disability and increased use of medical services. Comparison of primary care and community prevalence data is of interest in relation to the health services planning for mental disorders. The aim of the present study was to measure prevalence of mental disorders in six primary care clinics in Israel and to assess risk factors for these disorders.


Prevalence of mental disorders was measured in a sample of 2,948 primary care consecutive attendees, using two-stage stratified sampling with the General Health Questionnaire 12 (GHQ-12) and the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).


A high rate (46.3 %) of current mental disorders was found, with rates of current depressive episode, generalized anxiety disorder, somatization disorder, and neurasthenia being relatively high in comparison with rates in other countries. Low education was a risk factor for all categories of disorders, unemployment a risk factor for depressive disorders, and parenthood was protective for most categories of disorders.


High rates of mental disorders were found in this Israeli primary care sample as compared to other countries, while in the community the rates were midrange as compared to other countries, pointing to a relatively higher use of primary care services by patients with mental disorders in Israel than in other countries.


Epidemiology Prevalence Mental disorders Primary care Risk factors 



This study was supported by a grant from the Israel National Institute for Health Policy and Health Services Research. We would like to thank doctors and staff of primary health care clinics of Clalit health Services for their assistance in data collection.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neil Laufer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nelly Zilber
    • 3
  • Pablo Jecsmien
    • 4
  • Binyamin Maoz
    • 5
  • Daniel Grupper
    • 6
  • Haggai Hermesh
    • 2
    • 7
  • Royi Gilad
    • 7
  • Abraham Weizman
    • 2
    • 7
  • Hanan Munitz
    • 8
  1. 1.Herzliya Mental Health Clinic, Jaffa Mental Health CentreHerzliyaIsrael
  2. 2.Sackler Faculty of MedicineTel Aviv UniversityTel-AvivIsrael
  3. 3.The Falk Institute for Mental Health StudiesKfar Shaul HospitalJerusalemIsrael
  4. 4.Davidson Mental Health Clinic, Shalvata Mental Health CentreHod-HasharonIsrael
  5. 5.Goldman Medical SchoolBen Gurion UniversityBeer-ShevaIsrael
  6. 6.Beer Yaakov Mental Health CentreBeer YaakovIsrael
  7. 7.Outpatient Services and Research Unit, Geha Mental Health CentrePetah TiqwaIsrael
  8. 8.Clalit Health ServicesTel-AvivIsrael

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