To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Chronic disease treatment seeking and depression

Noah Lorincz-Comi (Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London, London, UK)
Samba Bah (Center for International Studies, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA)
Howard T. Welser (Department of Sociology, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA)
Jack Maduka (Center for International Studies, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Article publication date: 23 August 2019

Issue publication date: 2 June 2020



The purpose of this paper is to identify the effect of depression symptoms and their associated severity on reducing treatment sought for chronic medical conditions in respondents living in a low-/middle-income country.


Data for this paper are provided by the national cross-sectional World Health Survey (2003) completed in Pakistan. The authors constructed two samples: one reporting an angina diagnosis (n=150) and another an arthritis diagnosis (n=176), each reporting two or more respective disease symptoms. Logistic regression models, after controlling for confounding variables, were performed to predict treatment received in the last two weeks for respondents’ respective disease.


In respondents with angina, depression severity significantly reduced the likelihood of angina treatment received in the two weeks before survey; depression treatment significantly increased this likelihood. In respondents with arthritis, no psychopathologic variables predicted arthritis treatment received.

Research limitations/implications

This paper works to elucidate the constructs underlying the heavy chronic disease burdens, we currently witness in low-/middle-income countries. As the authors’ design is cross-sectional, future research would benefit from using longitudinal designs to further investigate the relationship between these morbidities.

Practical implications

These findings encourage further collaboration between medical and mental health professionals to develop stratified treatment strategies, especially in potentially underdeveloped settings, such as Pakistan. This paper also encourages the development of policy intended to provide residents of Pakistan and countries in similar socioeconomic positions with more medical and psychiatric treatment services.


This paper is unique in identifying the relationship between these morbidities in a large, population-based sample of respondents from a low-/middle-income country, Pakistan.



Lorincz-Comi, N., Bah, S., Welser, H.T. and Maduka, J. (2020), "Chronic disease treatment seeking and depression", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 135-144.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited