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The South African Stress and Health (SASH) study: 12- month and lifetime prevalence of common mental disorders

AA Herman
DJ Stein
S Seedat
SG Heeringa
H Moomal
DR Williams


Background. The South African Stress and Health (SASH) study is the first large-scale population-based study of common mental disorders in the country. This paper provides data on the 12-month and lifetime prevalence of these conditions.
Methods. Data from a nationally representative sample of 4 351 adults were analysed. Mental disorders were assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). An extensive survey questionnaire detailed contextual and socio-demographic factors, onset and course of mental disorders, and risk factors. Simple weighted cross-tabulation methods were used to estimate prevalence, and logistic regression analysis was used to study correlates of 12-month
and lifetime prevalence.
Results. The lifetime prevalence for any disorder was 30.3%, and the most prevalent 12-month and lifetime disorders were the anxiety disorders. The Western Cape had the highest 12-month and lifetime prevalence rates, and the lowest rates were in the Northern Cape.
Conclusions. The SASH study shows relatively high 12-month
and lifetime prevalence rates. These findings have significant implications for planning mental health services.

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eISSN: 2078-5135
print ISSN: 0256-9574