Depression and anxiety among migrants in Austria: a population based study of prevalence and utilization of health care services.


Journal Article


J Affect Disord, Volume 151, Ausgabe 1, p.220-8 (2013)



Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Anxiety, Austria, Data Collection, Delivery of Health Care, Depression, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Prevalence, Sex Factors, Transients and Migrants, Young Adult


<p><b>BACKGROUND: </b>Although migrants form a large part of the Austrian population, information about mental health of migrants in Austria is scarce. Therefore, we compared the prevalence of dysphoric disorders (depression and anxiety) and the corresponding utilization of health care services of Eastern European, western and other migrants with the non-migrant population in Austria.</p><p><b>METHODS: </b>We performed a telephone survey on a random sample of the general population of Austria aged 15 years and older (n=3509) between October 2010 and September 2011. Depression and anxiety were measured with the Patient Health Questionnaire-4 and utilization of health care services in the last 4 weeks was inquired.</p><p><b>RESULTS: </b>15.0% of our sample had a migration background. Female migrants from Eastern Europe, first and second generation, had a higher prevalence of dysphoric disorders (29.7% and 33.4% respectively) than Austrian women (15.2%) (p<0.001). The prevalence in the other migrant groups did not differ significantly from the Austrian population. There was no gender difference in dysphoric disorders in the Austrian population. After adjustment for age and chronic diseases, having a dysphoric disorder was associated with a higher utilization of health care services among migrant and Austrian women, but not among men.</p><p><b>LIMITATIONS: </b>Because of the explorative nature of the study multiple testing correction was not performed. The reason for health care utilization was not assessed.</p><p><b>CONCLUSIONS: </b>Mental health of female migrants from Eastern Europe should be studied in more detail; men could be an underserved group, both in migrants and Austrians.</p>