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Original article

Vol. 144 No. 1516 (2014)

Depression in early adulthood: prevalence and psychosocial correlates among young Swiss men

  • Jürgen Barth
  • Karen Hofmann
  • Dominik Schori
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2014;144:w13945


QUESTION UNDER STUDY: Depression in young adults is common, but data from Switzerland are scarce. Our study gives a point prevalence estimate of depression in young Swiss men, and describes the association between depression and education, material and social resources, and job/school satisfaction.

METHODS: We used data from the cross-sectional Swiss Federal Surveys of Adolescents (ch-x) from 2010 to 2011 comprising 9,066 males aged between 18 and 25 years. Depression was assessed by means of self-reports using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). Persons were categorised into three groups: depression, subthreshold depression, and no depression. We assessed the relationship between depression and education, material and social resources, and satisfaction with job/school. Differences according to depression status were tested with chi-square tests for categorical variables and one-way analyses of variance for continuous variables.

RESULTS: Point prevalence of depression (3.60%) and subthreshold depression (3.62%) was high. Poor mental health was associated with lower education in young adults (p <0.001), and with their parents’ education (p = 0.024). Social resources in persons with depression and subthreshold depression were substantially reduced (i.e., social support and satisfaction with social relations; both p <0.001). Young men with depression and subthreshold depression also reported a current lack of satisfaction with job/school (p <0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Prevalence of (subthreshold) depression is high in young Swiss men. Depression at this age might result in a bad long-term prognosis owing to its association with low satisfaction with job/school and low self-efficacy. Interventions should especially consider the lower social resources of young men with depression.


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