Determinants of effective treatment coverage for major depressive disorder in the WHO World Mental Health Surveys

Daniel V. Vigo, Alan E. Kazdin, Nancy A. Sampson, Irving Hwang, Jordi Alonso, Laura Helena Andrade, Olatunde Ayinde, Guilherme Borges, Ronny Bruffaerts, Brendan Bunting, Giovanni de Girolamo, Silvia Florescu, Oye Gureje, Josep Maria Haro, Meredith G. Harris, Elie G. Karam, Georges Karam, Viviane Kovess-Masfety, Sing Lee, Fernando Navarro-MateuJosé Posada-Villa, Kate Scott, Juan Carlos Stagnaro, Margreet ten Have, Chi Shin Wu, Miguel Xavier, Ronald C. Kessler

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Background: Most individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) receive either no care or inadequate care. The aims of this study is to investigate potential determinants of effective treatment coverage. Methods: In order to examine obstacles to providing or receiving care, the type of care received, and the quality and use of that care in a representative sample of individuals with MDD, we analyzed data from 17 WHO World Mental Health Surveys conducted in 15 countries (9 high-income and 6 low/middle-income). Of 35,012 respondents, 3341 had 12-month MDD. We explored the association of socio-economic and demographic characteristics, insurance, and severity with effective treatment coverage and its components, including type of treatment, adequacy of treatment, dose, and adherence. Results: High level of education (OR = 1.63; 1.19, 2.24), private insurance (OR = 1.62; 1.06, 2.48), and age (30–59yrs; OR = 1.58; 1.21, 2.07) predicted effective treatment coverage for depression in a multivariable logistic regression model. Exploratory bivariate models further indicate that education may follow a dose—response relation; that people with severe depression are more likely to receive any services, but less likely to receive adequate services; and that in low and middle-income countries, private insurance (the only significant predictor) increased the likelihood of receiving effective treatment coverage four times. Conclusions: In the regression models, specific social determinants predicted effective coverage for major depression. Knowing the factors that determine who does and does not receive treatment contributes to improve our understanding of unmet needs and our ability to develop targeted interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number29
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2022


  • Effective coverage
  • Global mental health
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Mental health services
  • Mental health systems


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