Prevalence of depression in women with low income living in developed countries


Objective To conduct a systematic review of studies reporting prevalence rates of depression in women living in low-income circumstances in developed countries. Methods The published and unpublished literature was searched for studies reporting prevalence of depression in women with low income in developed countries. Searches, data extraction, and methodological appraisal were conducted twice independently. To perform the analysis, the meta and metafor packages in R, a random effect model to account for both between and within studies’ variances, and the restricted maximum likelihood method for estimation were used. Results One-hundred sixty-four studies, involving 218,035 participants, were located through the search process. The point prevalence of depression among women in low-income circumstances using self-report instruments in 134 studies was 37.4% (95% CI, 34.0%–40.7%). Additionally, the point prevalence according to depression diagnosis in 25 studies was 22.9% (95% CI, 17.8%–28.5%). Conclusions The high rate of depression among women living in low-income circumstances is of serious public health concern. Policy Implications Women living in low-income circumstances should receive screening and referral/treatment in not only medical service settings, but also in social service settings serving women receiving welfare benefits.

Depression and Anxiety