APH 2006, 64, 199-214:
Mental and Pain Comorbidity
of Chronic Somatic Disorders
in the General Population in Belgium.
C. Bertrem, R. Bruffaerts, A.
Bonnewyn, H. Van Oyen, S.
Demarest, K. Demyttenaere
Objective: Gaining knowledge on (a) the mental and pain comorbidity
patterns of somatic disorders in the Belgian general population,
and (b) associated short-time work loss days.
Method: A representative random sample of non-institutionalised
inhabitants from Belgium aged 18 or older (n=2419) were interviewed
between April 2001 and June 2002. DSM-IV mental disorders were
assessed with the 3rd version of the Composite International Diagnostic
Interview (CIDI 3.0). The presence of chronic somatic disorders and
chronic pain conditions was based on self-report.
Results: Chronic somatic disorders were systematically associated
with either chronic pain conditions (adjusted odds ratios [adjusted for age, gender, and mental disorders] ranging between 2.3 and 2.7, p<.05)
and mental disorders (adjusted odds ratios [adjusted for age, gender,
and chronic pain conditions] ranging between 1.4 and 2.6, p<.05).
Somatic disorders tended to be more chronic when they were comorbid
with either mental disorders or pain conditions. Persons with a somatic
disorder had, per month, 2.5 more work loss days than persons without
a somatic disorder. Moreover, one third of this decrease in work loss was
due to comorbid chronic pain or mental disorders.
Conclusions: These are the first epidemiological data on comorbidity
of somatic conditions and mental disorders in the general population
in Belgium. The results highlight that, after adjustment for the potential
influence of other variables, there is a consistent association between
somatic disorders on the one hand, and mental disorders and pain
conditions on the other. Mental and pain comorbidity also play a significant
role in work loss in persons with chronic somatic disorders.