Prevalence of common mental disorders in widowhood: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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Background: Widowed people have a high risk of common mental disorders, however no summary estimates of the prevalences exist. The aim of this study was to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of the prevalence of common mental disorders in widowed people in the community. Methods: MEDLINE, Embase and PsycInfo were searched for papers reporting on prevalence of common mental disorders and widowhood. Eligible studies were included in random effects meta-analyses of the prevalence of depression and anxiety disorders. Subgroup analyses were performed on method of assessment of depression and age and sex. Results: The literature search identified 13,781 titles of which 42 were eligible for meta-analysis. The pooled prevalence of depression in studies using a screening scale was 40.6% (33.6%–47.6%) (n = 30). For studies using full diagnostic criteria the pooled prevalence of depression was 19.2% (13.4%–25.0%) (n = 12). Subgroup analyses of age (≥ or < 65) and sex did not show any differences regarding depression. Five studies reported the prevalence of anxiety disorders. The pooled prevalence estimate was 26.9% (8.1%–45.7%). Limitations: The prevalence estimates in this study are summary estimates of prevalences from existing literature. Although the reporting bias assessment showed no evidence, there could be some reporting bias, as studies might only present results if there is a high prevalence. Conclusions: Widowed people have a high prevalence of depression and anxiety disorders. The high prevalence of depression was independent of age and sex. The study identifies a population group at high risk needing special attention in clinical practice.

SprogEngelsk
TidsskriftJournal of Affective Disorders
Vol/bind245
Sidetal (fra-til)1016-1023
ISSN0165-0327
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 15 feb. 2019