Differential characteristics of young and midlife adult users of psychotherapy, psychotropic medications, or both: information from a population representative sample in São Paulo, Brazil.


Journal Article

While the personal characteristics of users of psychotherapy and/or psychotropic medications have been examined, direct user comparison of these treatment approaches appears to be rare. Our aim is to ascertain extent of receipt of these services, and identify basic distinguishing characteristics of users.Information on demographics, lifetime and past 12 month use of mental health services, and presence of common mental disorders (CMD), was gathered in 2002 using a multi-stage sampling procedure that yielded a population-representative, community-resident sample (N = 2000, age 18-65) for São Paulo, Brazil. Analysis used descriptive statistics and logistic regression.Overall, 9.3% reported receiving psychotherapy and/or psychotropic medication, 54.3% of whom did not meet CMD criteria. Of those meeting criteria for CMD (n = 455, 22.8%), 2.9% reported only psychotherapy, 10.1% reported only psychotropic medication, and 5.7% reported both. CMD was associated with use of psychotropic medication (psychotropic medication alone, Odds Ratio (OR) 3.58, 95% CI 2.33-5.52; together with psychotherapy, OR 4.17, 95% CI 2.34-7.44). CMD was not associated with use of psychotherapy. Users' distinguishing characteristics were: psychotherapy only--not married; psychotropics only--increasing age, female, not married; using both--only CMD status. Neither education nor income was associated with use.Nearly 10% of all community residents age 18-65, but less than a fifth of the 23% with CMD, received psychotherapy and/or psychotropic medication. Non-married status increased odds of all treatment types, but CMD presence increased only odds of psychotropic and combined psychotherapy/psychotropic use, with odds of psychotropic only use increasing with age, and for women. Use was equitable with respect to education and income.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Blay, SL; Fillenbaum, GG; Peluso, ET

Published Date

  • October 29, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 15 /

Start / End Page

  • 268 -

PubMed ID

  • 26511681

Pubmed Central ID

  • 26511681

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1471-244X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1471-244X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1186/s12888-015-0651-2


  • eng