BACKGROUND: The prevalence of major depression (MD) in persons with nonpsychiatric medical conditions is an indicator of clinical need in those groups, an indicator of the feasibility of screening and case-finding efforts, and a source of etiologic hypotheses. This analysis explores the prevalence of MD in the general population in relation to various long-term medical conditions. METHODS: We used a dataset from a large-scale Canadian national health survey, the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS). The sample consisted of 115 071 subjects aged 18 years and over, randomly sampled from the Canadian population. The survey interview recorded self-reported diagnoses of various long-term medical conditions and employed a brief predictive interview for MD, the Composite International Diagnostic Interview Short Form for Major Depression. Logistic regression was used to adjust estimates of association for age and sex. RESULTS: The conditions most strongly associated with MD were chronic fatigue syndrome (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 7.2) and fibromyalgia (AOR 3.4). The conditions least strongly associated were hypertension (AOR 1.2), diabetes, heart disease, and thyroid disease (AOR 1.4 in each case). We found associations with various gastrointestinal, neurologic, and respiratory conditions. CONCLUSIONS: A diverse set of long-term medical conditions are associated with MD, although previous studies might have lacked power to detect some of these associations. The strength of association in prevalence data, however, varies across specific conditions.
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