Economic crises have been found to bring adverse repercussions on physical and mental health internationally through various pathways. Research corroborates a link between financial distress
and common mental disorders. In this context, the University Mental Health Research Institute conducted
epidemiological nationwide surveys in an endeavour to gauge the impact of the ongoing financial crisis on the mental health of the Greek population. The purpose of the present analysis pertains to investigating changes in the prevalence of common mental disorders in the population as a whole as well as in various population sub-groups between years 2009 and 2011. In addition, the association of financial strain with common mental disorders was also explored. For investigating the particular research objectives, two cross-sectional surveys following the same methodology were conducted. A random and representative sample of 2192 respondents in 2009 and 2256 respondents in 2011 took part in telephone interviews. Generalized anxiety disorder and major depression were assessed with the germane modules of Structured Clinical Interview, while financial difficulties with the Index of Personal Economic Distress (IPED), an original scale developed for the purposes of the particular surveys. All measures displayed good psychometric properties. Between the two years, a noteworthy, albeit non-significant, increase in one-prevalence of major depression was documented. On the other hand, the prevalence of generalized anxiety disorder remained largely unchanged. Statistically significant differences in the prevalence of both disorders were reported for particular population subgroups, with married persons and employed people emerging as the most afflicted individuals. Regarding financial distress, it was found to bear a statistically significant association with major depression but not with generalized anxiety disorder. For mitigating the mental health effects of the crisis on the general population, study findings underline the necessity of implementing targeted interventions, tailored to the needs and difficulties of each population sub-group.

Key words: Economic crisis, generalized anxiety disorder, downturn, financial distress, mental health

M. Economou, L. Peppou, S. Fousketaki, Ch. Theleritis, A. Patelakis, T. Alexiou, M. Madianos, C. Stefanis (page 247) - Full article (Greek)