Prevalence of DSM-IV disorders and attendant help-seeking in 2 American Indian reservation populations

Janette Beals, Spero M Manson, Nancy R Whitesell, Paul Spicer, Douglas K Novins, Christina M Mitchell
Archives of General Psychiatry 2005, 62 (1): 99-108

BACKGROUND: The American Indian Service Utilization, Psychiatric Epidemiology, Risk and Protective Factors Project (AI-SUPERPFP) estimated the mental health burden and associated help-seeking in select American Indian reservation communities.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the lifetime and 12-month prevalence of common DSM-IV disorders, their demographic correlates, and patterns of help-seeking in 2 culturally distinct American Indian reservation communities in the Southwest and Northern Plains.

DESIGN: Completed between 1997 and 2000, a cross-sectional probability sample survey.

SETTING: General community.

PARTICIPANTS: Three thousand eighty-four (Southwest = 1446 and Northern Plains = 1638) members, aged 15-54 years, of 2 tribal groups living on or near their home reservations were randomly sampled from the tribal rolls. Response rates were 73.7% and 76.8% for the Southwest and Northern Plains tribes, respectively.Main Outcomes Measures The AI-SUPERPFP Composite International Diagnostic Interview, a culturally adapted version of the University of Michigan version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview, to assess DSM-IV diagnoses and help-seeking.

RESULTS: Overall lifetime prevalence of AI-SUPERPFP DSM-IV disorders ranged from 35.7% for Southwest women to near 50% for both groups of men. Alcohol abuse and dependence were the most common disorders for men, with posttraumatic stress disorder most prevalent for women. Many of those with lifetime alcohol problems or posttraumatic stress disorder no longer met criteria for 12-month diagnoses. Significant levels of comorbidity were found between those with depressive and/or anxiety and substance disorders. Demographic correlates other than tribe, sex, and age were generally unrelated to disorder status. A majority of participants with lifetime disorders had sought help from mental health professionals, other medical personnel, or culturally traditional sources.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder were more common in these American Indian populations than in other populations using comparable methods. Substantial comorbidity between depressive and/or anxiety and substance disorders suggests the need for greater coordination of treatment for comorbid disorders.

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