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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


LIMA, Maria Cristina Pereira et al. Common mental disorders and the use of psychoactive drugs: the impact of socioeconomic conditions. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2008, vol.42, n.4, pp.717-723.  Epub June 27, 2008. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the influence of socioeconomic conditions on the association between common mental disorders and the use of health services and psychoactive drugs. METHODS: This was a population-based cross-sectional study conducted in the city of Botucatu, Southeastern Brazil. The sample was probabilistic, stratified and cluster-based. Interviews with 1,023 subjects aged 15 years or over were held in their homes between 2001 and 2002. Common mental disorders were evaluated using the Self-Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ-20). The use of services was investigated in relation to the fortnight preceding the interview and the use of psychotropic drugs, over the preceding three days. Logistic regression was used for multivariable analysis, and the design effect was taken into consideration. RESULTS: Out of the whole sample, 13.4% (95% CI: 10.7;16.0) had sought health services over the fortnight preceding the interview. Seeking health services was associated with female gender (OR=2.0) and the presence of common mental disorders (OR=2.2). 13.3% of the sample (95% CI: 9.2;17.5) said they had used at least one psychotropic drug, especially antidepressives (5.0%) and benzodiazepines (3.1%). In the multivariable analysis, female gender and the presence of common mental disorders remained associated with the use of benzodiazepines. Per capita income presented a direct and independent association with the use of psychoactive drugs: the greater the income, the greater the use of these drugs was. CONCLUSIONS: Lower income was associated with the presence of common mental disorders, but not with the use of psychotropic drugs. The association of common mental disorders and the use of psychotropic drugs in relation to higher income strengthens the hypothesis that inequality of access to medical services exists among this population.

Keywords : Mental Disorders [epidemiology]; Psychotropic Drugs [therapeutic use]; Socioeconomic Factors; Health Inequalities; Cross-Sectional Studies.

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