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Vol 20, No 4 (2023)
Research paper
Published online: 2023-11-21
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Anxiety and depression screening among Polish adults in 2023: Depression levels are higher than in cancer patients

Paweł Larionow1
Psychiatria 2023;20(4):143-151.


Introduction: This study presents a brief report on the psychometrics of the WHO-Five Well-being Index (WHO-5) and a screening assessment of probable anxiety and depression disorders in a general community sample of Poles. The study aimed to (1) examine the factorial validity and measurement invariance of the Polish WHO-5 across age and gender groups, and (2) estimate the prevalence of probable anxiety and depression disorders using two screening questionnaires, i.e., the WHO-5 and the Patient Health Questionnaire-4 (PHQ-4).

Material and methods: The sample included 1115 Polish adults (661 females, 438 males, and 16 non-binary people) aged 18–72 recruited from the general population in July 2023. The Polish versions of the WHO-5 and the PHQ-4 were applied.

Results: The Polish WHO-5 had an intended 1-factor structure and was invariant across two age and two gender groups. Based on the recommended WHO-5 cut-off scores of ≤ 12, more than 71% of respondents in all age-gender groups (aged 18–29 and older) were screened positively for depression. In the whole sample, 59.28% and 52.91% of the respondents were screened positively for anxiety and depression, respectively (based on the PHQ-4 cut-off scores of ≥ 3 for the anxiety and depression subscales). Females aged 18–29 and non-binary people were very high-risk groups for psychopathology.

Conclusions: Compared to previous Polish studies and other diverse cultural samples, the prevalence of probable anxiety and depression disorders in Polish adults in July 2023 was extremely high. Clinical interviews and a mixed methods approach are required to a more in-depth examination of this state of affairs.

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