AIMS: To describe the epidemiology of heavy alcohol use in Ukraine, using data from the world mental health (WMH) survey in Ukraine. METHODS: The WMH composite international diagnostic interview was administered in 2002 to a national probability sample of Ukrainian adults (n=4725). An algorithm for classifying heavy use in the past year was developed from self-reports about the quantity and frequency of drinking, and its convergent validity was demonstrated. Prevalence rates and socio-demographic risk factors were examined separately for men and women. RESULTS: The 12-month rates of heavy alcohol use were 38.7% in men and 8.5% in women (22.0% overall). Among heavy alcohol users, 92% of men and 52% of women consumed at least 80 g of ethanol in a typical drinking day on a monthly basis in the year before the interview. The most significant risk factors in men and women were age (26-54 years for men; 18-25 years for women), living in the Southeast region, being in the labour force whether employed or unemployed, and for men, low education and being the father of a young child. A highly significant linear relationship of number of risk factors with heavy alcohol use was found for both sexes. CONCLUSIONS: The rates for men were similar to those reported in a Russian national survey with the exception of Southeast Ukraine where the rate was >10% higher. The highest rates were among men who were middle-aged, fathers and unemployed. Future prospective studies are needed to assess the impact of heavy alcohol use on Ukrainian health, mental health and occupational and social functioning.
BACKGROUND: This study presents the lifetime, 12-month, and 1-month prevalence estimates of nine psychiatric and alcohol disorders in Ukraine assessed as part of the World Health Organization (WHO) World Mental Health (WMH) research program. The Ukraine WMH survey is the first psychiatric epidemiologic study in a former Soviet Union country to administer a structured psychiatric interview to a nationally representative sample. METHOD: In 2002, a national probability sample of 4,725 respondents ages 18 and older were interviewed with the WMH version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (WMH-CIDI). Prevalence estimates, age-of-onset curves, comorbidity, demographic and geographic risk factors, and treatment seeking were examined. RESULTS: Close to one third of the population experienced at least one Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) disorder in their lifetime, 17.6% experienced an episode in the past year, and 10.6% had a current disorder. There was no gender difference in the overall prevalence rates. In men, the most common diagnoses were alcohol disorders (26.5% lifetime) and mood disorders (9.7% lifetime); in women, they were mood disorders (20.8% lifetime) and anxiety disorders (7.9% lifetime). The odds ratios for most pairs of disorders were highly significant. Age of onset was primarily in the teens and early 20s. Age, education, and living in the Eastern region of Ukraine were significant risk factors across disorders, with respondents older than 50 years having the highest prevalence of mood disorder and the lowest prevalence of alcoholism and intermittent explosive disorder. Only a minority of respondents talked to a professional about their symptoms. CONCLUSION: Prevalence estimates of alcoholism among men and recent depression among women were higher in Ukraine than in comparable European surveys. The results argue for the need to develop and implement educational programs focused on the recognition and treatment of mental and alcohol disorders for the general population, psychiatrists, and general medical providers, who are the main source of mental health care.
OBJECTIVE: To examine potential external validators for oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and attention-deficient/hyperactive disorder (ADHD) symptoms in a Ukrainian community-based sample of 600 children age 10 to 12 years old and evaluate the nature of co-occurring ODD and ADHD symptoms using mother- and teacher-defined groups. METHOD: In 1997, parents, children, and teachers participated in extensive clinical assessments using standard Western measures. Four areas of functioning were assessed: child mental health, parent-child interactions, parental well-being, and school/cognitive performance. RESULTS: Mother-defined ODD versus ADHD symptom groups were differentiated by a history of overactivity and tantrums, behavior in school, and maternal anxiety and hostility. Teacher-defined groups were differentiated by conduct problems, internalizing symptoms, mother-child interactions, and paternal alcohol use. The effects of co-occurring ODD and ADHD symptoms were greater than would be expected based on their separate effects for conduct problems, internalizing symptoms, social problems, academic performance, parent-child relations, and marital discord. CONCLUSIONS: Children with ODD versus ADHD symptoms were not significantly different from each other for the majority of variables examined, and group differences were dependent on the rater used to define symptom groups.
BACKGROUND: The Chornobyl nuclear power plant explosion in April 1986 was one of the worst ecological disasters of the 20th century. As with most disasters, its long-term mental health consequences have not been examined. AIMS: This study describes the psychological well-being and risk perceptions of exposed women 19-20 years later and the risk factors associated with mental health. METHODS: We assessed Chornobyl-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive episode (MDE) and overall distress among three groups of women in Kyiv, Ukraine (N = 797): mothers of small children evacuated to Kyiv in 1986 from the contaminated area near the plant (evacuees); mothers of their children's classmates (neighbourhood controls); and population-based controls from Kyiv. Risk perceptions and epidemiologic correlates were also obtained. RESULTS: Evacuees reported poorer well-being and more negative risk perceptions than controls. Group differences in psychological well-being remained after adjustment for epidemiologic risk factors but became non-significant when Chornobyl risk perceptions were added to the models. CONCLUSIONS: The relatively poorer psychological well-being among evacuees is largely explained by their continued concerns about the physical health risks stemming from the accident. We suggest that this is due to the long-term, non-resolvable nature of health fears associated with exposure.
Potential risk factors for conduct problems and depressive symptoms were tested in a cohort of 10- to 12-year-old Ukrainian children (N = 544, 47.6% male). Risk factors examined were child emotional lability, child attention problems, poor mother-child communication, coercive maternal discipline, maternal depression, and low marital satisfaction. Results indicated that poor mother-child communication was related to conduct problems and depressive symptoms for both boys and girls. In addition, conduct problems and depression were associated with attention problems for boys and with low marital satisfaction for girls. Emotional lability was related specifically to conduct problems, and maternal punishment was related specifically to depressive symptoms.
Exposure to the Chornobyl nuclear power plant explosion resulted in widespread, persistent somatic complaints, but little is known about the nature and risk factors for these conditions. This study compares the health reports of 300 women evacuated to Kyiv from the contamination zone around the plant and 300 controls with a child in the same homeroom as the evacuees in 1997. The interview addressed somatic concerns, risk factors for poor health, and Chornobyl-related stress. Compared with controls, evacuees reported significantly more health problems and rated their health more poorly overall. These differences remained significant after controlling for demographic and clinical risk factors, including the tendency to amplify physical symptoms. Significantly more evacuees received a diagnosis of a Chornobyl-related illness by a local physician, believed that their health and their children's health had been adversely affected, and were positive for Chornobyl-induced post-traumatic stress disorder. After controlling for these Chornobyl stress variables, the differences in number of health problems commonly attributed to Chornobyl remained significant but differences in general health ratings did not. The perceptions of controls were similar to those of women in a national sample. The relationship between Chornobyl stress and illness was twice as strong in evacuees (odds ratio = 6.95) as in Kyiv controls (odds ratio = 3.34) and weakest in the national sample (odds ratio = 1.64). The results confirm the persistence and nonspecificity of the subjective medical consequences of Chornobyl and are consistent with the hypothesis that traumatic events exert their greatest negative impacts on health in vulnerable or disadvantaged groups.