Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 121–129 | Cite as

Twelve-month prevalence rates of mental disorders and service use in the Argentinean Study of Mental Health Epidemiology

  • Juan Carlos StagnaroEmail author
  • Alfredo H. Cía
  • Sergio Aguilar Gaxiola
  • Néstor Vázquez
  • Sebastián Sustas
  • Corina Benjet
  • Ronald C. Kessler
Original Paper



Community surveys of mental disorders and service use are important for public health policy and planning. There is a dearth of information for Latin America. This is the first representative community survey in the Argentinean population. The purpose is to estimate the 12-month prevalence and severity of mental disorders, socio-demographic correlates and service use in a general population survey of adults from urban areas of Argentina.


The World Mental Health Composite International Diagnostic Interview was administered to 3927 individuals aged 18 years and older participating in a multistage clustered area probability household survey. The response rate was 77%.


The 12-month prevalence of any disorder was 14.8%, and a quarter of those disorders were classified as severe. Younger participants and those with lower education had greater odds of any disorder and most classes of disorder. 11.6% of the total population received treatment in the prior 12 months and only 30.2% of those with a severe disorder. Women and those never married were more likely to receive or seek treatment, whereas those with low and low-average education were less likely.


Most individuals with a mental disorder in the past year, even those with a severe disorder, have not received treatment. Because low education is a barrier to treatment, initiatives aimed at mental health education might help timely detection and treatment of these disorders in Argentina.


Epidemiology Psychiatric disorders Argentina Service use Treatment 



The Argentinean Study of Mental Health Epidemiology was funded by the Ministerio de Salud de la Nación (Argentinean Ministry of Health) (Grant number 2002–17270/13–5). This 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 and fieldwork.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

In the past 3 years, Dr. Kessler received support for his epidemiological studies from Sanofi Aventis; was a consultant for Johnson & Johnson Wellness and Prevention, Sage Pharmaceuticals, Shire, Takeda; and served on an advisory board for the Johnson & Johnson Services Inc. Lake Nona Life Project. Kessler is a co-owner of DataStat, Inc., a market research firm that carries out healthcare research. On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that none of the other authors have conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan Carlos Stagnaro
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alfredo H. Cía
    • 2
  • Sergio Aguilar Gaxiola
    • 3
  • Néstor Vázquez
    • 4
  • Sebastián Sustas
    • 4
  • Corina Benjet
    • 5
  • Ronald C. Kessler
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, School of MedicineUniversity of Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Anxiety Clinic and Research CenterBuenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.Center for Reducing Health DisparitiesUniversity of California, Davis School of MedicineSacramentoUSA
  4. 4.Department of Public Health, School of MedicineUniversity of Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  5. 5.Department of Epidemiology and Psychosocial ResearchNational Institute of Psychiatry Ramón de la Fuente MuñizMexico CityMexico
  6. 6.Department of Health Care PolicyHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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