Depression in a youth population-based sample from Brazil: Prevalence and symptom structure

Pedro H. Manfro, Cristiano Tschiedel Belem da Silva, Luciana Anselmi, Fernando Barros, William W. Eaton, Helen Gonçalves, Joseph Murray, Isabel O. Oliveira, Luciana Tovo-Rodrigues, Fernando C. Wehrmeister, Ana M.B. Menezes, Luis Augusto Rohde, Christian Kieling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: We aimed to examine the occurrence of major depressive disorder (MDD) in a population-based youth sample, assessing both categorical and dimensional presentations of the disorder and its clinical and sociodemographic correlates. Methods: We analyzed cross-sectional data from the latest assessment of the 1993 Pelotas Birth Cohort (n = 3,780), a population-based study from Brazil that followed individuals up to age 22 years. We estimated point-prevalence for categorical diagnosis of MDD and comorbid diagnoses using DSM criteria in a structured interview by trained psychologists. Dimensional symptomatology was assessed with the Brazilian Portuguese version of the Center for Epidemiological Studies–Depression Scale–Revised (CES-D-R). Results: Point-prevalence of a current unipolar major depressive episode was 2.85% (95%CI 2.37-3.43%). The CES-D-R showed a mean of 9.20 (SD=9.72), with an area under the curve of 0.93 (95%CI 0.91 to 0.95) for the categorical diagnosis of MDD using a cutoff point of 16. Sad mood and somatic symptoms were the most frequent, and also had lower levels of latent values required for endorsement. Sad mood and anhedonia items were the most central items in the network structure. Conclusions: In a population-based sample of youths from a middle-income country, MDD prevalence estimates and comorbidity profile were consistent with previous global literature. A focus on symptoms might advance our understanding about MDD among youths by disentangling the heterogeneity of the disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-641
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021


  • Depression
  • Epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Symptom-level analysis
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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