Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 52, Issue 10, pp 1227–1235 | Cite as

The epidemiology of current depression in Macau, China: towards a plan for mental health action

  • Brian J. Hall
  • Agnes Iok Fong Lam
  • Tat Leong Wu
  • Wai-Kai Hou
  • Carl Latkin
  • Sandro Galea
Original Paper



Macau is a Special Administrative Region in China that has experienced tremendous development in its gambling industry during its post-colonial years. To inform mental health planning, this study presents the first population estimates and correlates of the current depression in Macau.


A population-representative sample of 1068 Macau Chinese citizens aged 18 or above responded to a household telephone survey in January, 2015. The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 measured the current depression. Logistic regression models assessed the association between depression and potential correlates.


Overall, 8.0% (95% CI 6.3–9.7) of persons reported the current depression. A higher but non-significant proportion of women reported depression than men (9.3 vs. 6.6%) and older women reported higher prevalence (13.4%) than other demographic groups. Persons who were unemployed (OR = 4.9, 2.3–10.5), separated or divorced (OR = 3.1, 1.1–8.9), and reported poor self-rated health (OR = 5.0, 2.8–9.0), low quality of life (OR = 6.2, 3.1–12.7), lower social standing (OR = 2.4, 1.4–4.0), lower community trust (OR = 1.9, 1.2–3.1), lower perceived fairness (OR = 2.3, 1.4–3.8), lower social cohesion (OR = 3.8, 2.3–6.2), and lower social integration (OR = 3.0, 1.9–5.0) had greater odds of depression than their comparison group.


The current study demonstrated the burden of depression among Macau adults disproportionately affects women during emerging adolescence and old age, and men during middle adulthood. Key strategies to improve mental health services in Macau are discussed.


China Macau Depression prevalence Social capital 



We thank Juliana Yuncg, Elenna Mo, Ray Wong, Emily Iong, Ung Hou Pang, Angela Ma and Jazz Cheong for their assistance with data collection.

Compliance with ethical standards

Financial support

This work was supported by the Research and Development Affairs Office (R&DAO), University of Macau, under Grant MYRG2015-00124-FSS and MYRG2015-00109-FSS (PI: Hall). The funding source played no role in the conduct of this research.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no competing interest.

Ethical standards

The authors assert that all procedures contributing to this work comply with the ethical standards of the relevant national and institutional committees on human experimentation and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian J. Hall
    • 1
    • 2
  • Agnes Iok Fong Lam
    • 3
  • Tat Leong Wu
    • 1
  • Wai-Kai Hou
    • 4
  • Carl Latkin
    • 2
  • Sandro Galea
    • 5
  1. 1.Global and Community Mental Health Research Group, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of MacauMacau (SAR)People’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Health, Behavior and SocietyJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Department of Communication, Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of MacauMacau (SAR)People’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Laboratory of Psychobiology of Emotion and Stress (LoPES), Department of Psychological Studies, Faculty of Education and Human Development, Centre for Psychosocial HealthThe Education University of Hong KongHong Kong (SAR)People’s Republic of China
  5. 5.Boston University School of Public HealthBostonUSA

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