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Monday, 1 October, 2001, 06:22 GMT 07:22 UK
Britons 'most depressed in Europe'
Depressed man
The study was conducted in cities including Liverpool
Britons top a European league table for rates of depression, according to a study.

The findings, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, show that cities in the UK and Ireland have the highest depression rates and cities in Spain the lowest.

The report - the first from a major European study of depression - also found women are more likely to be depressed than men, particularly those living in towns and cities.

According to the report's authors, including Dr Christopher Dowrick and Dr Greg Wilkinson of the University of Liverpool, depression has an impact on the community greater than that of many chronic physical diseases.

'Highly prevalent'

"This confirms that depressive disorder is a highly prevalent condition among working age adults in Europe, particularly in urban centres," the report says.

It concludes that the study should be used to implement fair and effective policies across the continent to address this "public health challenge".

Researchers used randomly selected samples of adults living in urban and rural areas in the UK, Ireland, Norway, Finland and Spain.

Religion

They were chosen as good representations of northern and southern Europe, representing different religious denominations.

The British rural research site was in the Welsh Vale of Clwyd and in Ireland it was the county of Laois. Liverpool and Dublin were used as the urban areas sampled.

The highest prevalence was the UK and urban Ireland with 17.1% and 12.8% respectively. Lowest was urban Spain, where the rate of depression was just 2.6%.

Gender samples found an overall prevalence of depressive disorders across Europe of 10.05% for women and 6.61% for men.

See also:

02 Aug 01 | Health
Depression in pregnancy 'common'
02 Oct 00 | Health
'Brain link' to manic depression
15 Sep 00 | Health
Biological clue to depression
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