Background: The determinants and correlates of severe mental disorders are less understood compared to the common mental disorders, both in the world and in Iran. In this study, we aimed to identify a wide range of determinants of severe stress, severe anger, and severe sadness among Iranian population.
Methods: This study is part of a large nationwide cross-sectional survey entitled STEPs conducted using a comprehensive questionnaire to determine the prevalence of main preventable risk factors of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Iran by age and sex groups in 2016. In total, 30541 people aged 18+participated in this study. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to examine the associations between the dependent variable, which is severe mental disorders, and independent variables including socio-economic factors, lifestyle and selected NCDs.
Results: The prevalence of severe stress, severe anger and sever sadness in the Iranian society was 33%, 35%, and 25%, respectively. Of the investigated socio-economic factors, being men, older, never married and living in rural areas were associated with significantly lower experience of severe mental disorders compared to other groups. For education, income and wealth index, there was no linear and clear pattern. Among lifestyle factors, being nonsmoker, having low physical activities, and higher intake of fruits and vegetables were found to be preventive of severe mental disorders. Additionally, having NCDs including hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart attacks were also significantly correlated with severe mental disorders.
Conclusion: determining factors associated with severe mental disorders in this study would help in raising people’s awareness on avoiding harmful factors, and taking healthier lifestyle such as quitting smoke, and consuming enough vegetables and fruits. Screening high risk people in terms of mental health could contribute to the reduction of mental disorders in the Iranian community.