Somatic comorbidity among migrants with posttraumatic stress disorder and depression – a prospective cohort study

​Mette Lolk, Stine Byberg, Jessica Carlsson and Marie Norredam

BMC Psychiatry (2016) 16:447. DOI:10.1186/s12888-016-1149-2.

Abstract


Background: In a cohort of migrants in Denmark, we compared somatic disease incidence among migrants diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression with migrants without a diagnosed psychiatric disorder.

Methods: The study builds on a unique cohort of migrants who obtained residence permit in Denmark from 1993 to 2010 (N = 92,104). The association with somatic disease was explored via register linkage. We used Poisson regression to model incidence rate ratios (IRR) adjusted for age, sex, income and region of origin. The Danish Data Protection Agency granted authorisation for the implementation of the project (No 2012-41-0065).

Results: Our results showed that migrants diagnosed with PTSD and depression had significantly higher rates of somatic diseases compared with migrants without diagnosed psychiatric disorders – especially, infectious disease (IRR, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.45–2.48; p < 0.01), neurological disease (IRR, 2.35; 95% CI, 1.91–2.91; p < 0.01) and pulmonary disease (IRR, 1.69; 95% CI, 1.37–2.00; p < 0.01). We further saw differences in the IRRs according to region of origin.

Conclusion: Migrants with PTSD and depression had a significantly higher rates of somatic comorbidity compared with migrants without a diagnosed psychiatric disorder. The rates were especially high for infectious, neurological and pulmonary diseases. Our results further suggest difference in the rates of somatic comorbidity according to region of. Preventive and treatment services should pay special attention to improve the overall health of migrants with PTSD and depression.

Keywords: Post-traumatic stress disorder Depression Comorbidity Refugee Migrant


For more details about this article, please contact Jessica Carlsson: jessica.carlsson.lohmann@regionh.dk


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