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INFLUENTIAL PUBLICATION   |    
Abstracts for Gender, Race, and Culture
FOCUS 2006;4:59-61.
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Copyright 2006 American Psychiatric Association

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Given space limitations and varying reprint permission policies, not all of the influentual publications the editors considered reprinting in this issue could be included. This section contains abstracts from additional articles the editors deemed well worth reviewing.

Prevalence of Mental Disorders and Utilization of Mental Health Services in Two American Indian Reservation Populations: Mental Health Disparities in a National Context

Beals J, Novins DK, Whitesell NR, Spicer P, Mitchell CM, Manson SM

American Journal of Psychiatry2005; 162:1723—1732

Objective: The American Indian Service Utilization, Psychiatric Epidemiology, Risk and Protective Factors Project (AI-SUPERPFP) provided estimates of the prevalence of DSM-III-R disorders and utilization of services for help with those disorders in American Indian populations. Completed between 1997 and 1999, the AI-SUPERPFP was designed to allow comparison of findings with the results of the baseline National Comorbidity Survey (NCS), conducted in 1990—1992, which reflected the general United States population. Method: A total of 3,084 tribal members (1,446 in a Southwest tribe and 1,638 in a Northern Plains tribe) age 15—54 years living on or near their home reservations were interviewed with an adaptation of the University of Michigan Composite International Diagnostic Interview. The lifetime and 12-month prevalences of nine DSM-III-R disorders were estimated, and patterns of help-seeking for symptoms of mental disorders were examined. Results: The most common lifetime diagnoses in the American Indian populations were alcohol dependence, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and major depressive episode. Compared with NCS results, lifetime PTSD rates were higher in all American Indian samples, lifetime alcohol dependence rates were higher for all but Southwest women, and lifetime major depressive episode rates were lower for Northern Plains men and women. Fewer disparities for 12-month rates emerged. After differences in demographic variables were accounted for, both American Indian samples were at heightened risk for PTSD and alcohol dependence but at lower risk for major depressive episode, compared with the NCS sample. American Indian men were more likely than those in NCS to seek help for substance use problems from specialty providers; American Indian women were less likely to talk to nonspecialty providers about emotional problems. Help-seeking from traditional healers was common in both American Indian populations and was especially common in the Southwest. Conclusions: The results suggest that these American Indian populations had comparable, and in some cases greater, mental health service needs, compared with the general population of the United States.

Gender Differences in Bipolar Disorder: Retrospective Data From the First 500 STEP-BD Participants

Baldassano CF, Marangell LB, Gyulai L, Nassir Ghaemi S, Joffe H, Kim DR, Sagduyu K, Truman CJ, Wisniewski SR, Sachs GS, Cohen LS

Bipolar Disorders2005; 7:465—470

Objective: To examine gender differences in a large sample of patients with bipolar illness. Methods: Exploratory analysis of baseline data from the first 500 patients in the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD), a multi-center NIMH project. Participants are allowed to have medical and psychiatric comorbidities, and to enter in any mood state, thus making the population more generalizable than many research cohorts. Diagnoses and history were assessed using structured clinical instruments administered by certified investigators. Given the exploratory nature of these analyses, there is no correction for multiple comparisons. However, we emphasize findings that are statistically significant at the more stringent p<0.01 level. Results: Compared with men, women had higher rates of BPII (15.3% M versus 29.0% F, p<0.01), comorbid thyroid disease (5.7% M versus 26.9% F, p<0.01), bulimia (1.5% M versus 11.6% F, p<0.01) and post-traumatic stress disorder (10.6% M versus 20.9% F, p<0.01). Women and men had equal rates of history of lifetime rapid cycling and depressive episodes. Men were more likely to have a history of legal problems (36% M versus 17.5% F, p<0.01). Conclusions: Potentially important gender differences in certain illness characteristics were found in our study; however, in contrast to other reports, we did not find higher rates of lifetime depressive episodes or rapid cycling in women. Although our study is limited by its retrospective study design, its results are strengthened by our large sample size and use of structured interviews.

Gender Differences in Depression: Findings From the STAR*D Study

Marcus SM, Young EA, Kerber KB, Kornstein S, Farabaugh AH, Mitchell J, Wisniewski SR, Balasubramani GK, Trivedi MH, Rush AJ

Journal of Affective Disorders2005; 87:141—150

Background: Epidemiologic research consistently reports gender differences in the rates and course of major depressive disorder (MDD). The STAR*D (Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression) multicenter trial provides a unique opportunity to explore gender differences in outpatients with nonpsychotic MDD. Methods: This sample included the first 1500 outpatients with MDD who enrolled in STAR*D. Nearly two-thirds of the sample (62.8%) were women. Baseline sociodemographic factors, comorbidities, and illness characteristics were analyzed by gender. Results: Women (62.8% of the sample) had a younger age at onset of the first major depressive episode. They commonly reported concurrent symptoms consistent with anxiety disorders, somatoform disorder, and bulimia as well as atypical symptoms. Alcohol and drug abuses were more common in men. Limitations: This report is a subpopulation of the entire STAR*D sample. These exploratory analyses aimed to identify potential gender differences for further hypothesis testing. Conclusions: The gender-specific rate of MDD in this study population is proportional to rates found in community samples with a 1.7:1 prevalence of MDD in women vs. men which argues against increased treatment seeking in women.

Biological Differences in Depression and Anxiety Across Races and Ethnic Groups

Lin KM

Journal of Clinical Psychiatry2001; 62(suppl 13):13—19

A growing number of studies clearly indicate the importance of race and ethnicity in the psychopharmacologic management of depression and anxiety disorders. The data highlight important pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic, and pharmacogenetic ethnic differences that may have profound implications for the efficacy and safety of psychotropic therapies. General treatment considerations based on these differences include greater attention to adverse event profiles, the possibility of improved clinical response at any given dose, and the potential need for lower starting doses and slower increases in dosage. Continued research in this area is clinically important as patients with increasingly divergent ethnic and cultural backgrounds seek treatment for a range of depressive and anxiety disorders.

A Review of Treatment of Premenstrual Syndrome and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Rapkin A

Psychoneuroendocrinology2003; 28(suppl 3):39—53

Severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and, more recently, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) have been studied extensively over the last 20 years. The defining criteria for diagnosis of the disorders according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) include at least one moderate to severe mood symptom and one physical symptom for the diagnosis of PMS and by DSM-IV criteria a total of 5 symptoms with 1 severe mood symptom for the diagnosis of PMDD. There must be functional impairment attributed to the symptoms. The symptoms must be present for one to two weeks premenstrually with relief by day 4 of menses and should be documented prospectively for at least two cycles using a daily rating form. Nonpharmacologic management with some evidence for efficacy include cognitive behavioral relaxation therapy, aerobic exercise, as well as calcium, magnesium, vitamin B(6) L-tryptophan supplementation or a complex carbohydrate drink. Pharmacologic management with at least ten randomized controlled trials to support efficacy include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors administered daily or premenstrually and serotonergic tricyclic antidepressants. Anxiolytics and potassium sparing diuretics have demonstrated mixed results in the literature. Hormonal therapy is geared towards producing anovulation. There is good clinical evidence for GnRH analogs with addback hormonal therapy, danocrine, and estradiol implants or patches with progestin to protect the endometrium. Oral contraceptive pills prevent ovulation and should be effective for the treatment of PMS/PMDD. However, limited evidence does not support efficacy for oral contraceptive agents containing progestins derived from 19-nortestosterone. The combination of the estrogen and progestin may produce symptoms similar to PMS, such as water retention and irritability. There is preliminary evidence that a new oral contraceptive pill containing low-dose estrogen and the progestin drospirenone, a spironolactone analog, instead of a 19-nortestosterone derivative can reduce symptoms of water retention and other side effects related to estrogen excess. The studies are in progress, however, preliminary evidence suggests that the drospirenone-containing pill called Yasmin may be effective [for] the treatment of PMDD.

Gender Differences in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among Primary Care Patients After the World Trade Center Attack of September 11, 2001

Weissman MM, Neria Y, Das A, Feder A, Blanco C, Lantigua R, Shea S, Gross R, Gameroff MJ, Pilowsky D, Olfson M

Gender Medicine2005; 2:76—87

Background: Debate surrounds the nature of gender differences in rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Objective: The goal of this study was to quantify and explore the reasons for gender differences in rates of PTSD in low income, primary care patients after the World Trade Center (WTC) attack of September 11, 2001. Methods: A survey was conducted at a large primary care practice in New York City 7 to 16 months after the WTC attack. The study involved a systematic sample of primary care patients aged 18 to 70 years. The main outcome measures were the Life Events Checklist, the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist—Civilian Version, and the Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders Patient Health Questionnaire, all administered by a bilingual research staff. Results: A total of 3807 patients were approached at the primary care clinic. Of the 1347 who met eligibility criteria, 1157 (85.9%) consented to participate. After the addition of the WTC/PTSD supplement to the study, the total number of patients was 992, of whom 982 (99.0%) completed the survey. Both sexes had high rates of direct exposure to the WTC attack and high rates of lifetime exposure to stressful life events. Overall, females had lower rates of exposure to the attack compared with males (P<0.05). Hispanic females had the highest rate of PTSD in the full sample. Gender differences in rates of PTSD were largely accounted for by differences in marital status and education. The rate of current major depressive disorder (MDD) was higher in females than in males (P<0.001), and the reverse was true for substance abuse (P<0.001). Gender differences for MDD and substance abuse persisted even after adjustments for demographic differences between the sexes. Conclusions: The increased rate of PTSD in women attending a primary care clinic was mediated by their social and economic circumstances, such as living alone without a permanent relationship and with little education or income. The increased rate of MDD in women appeared to be less dependent on these circumstances. These findings have implications for the treatment of women with PTSD in primary care and for research on gender differences in rates of psychiatric disorders.

Are Eating Disorders Culture-Bound Syndromes? Implications for Conceptualizing Their Etiology

Keel PK, Klump KL

Psychological Bulletin2003; 129:747—769

The authors explore the extent to which eating disorders, specifically anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN), represent culture-bound syndromes and discuss implications for conceptualizing the role genes play in their etiology. The examination is divided into 3 sections: a quantitative meta-analysis of changes in incidence rates since the formal recognition of AN and BN, a qualitative summary of historical evidence of eating disorders before their formal recognition, and an evaluation of the presence of these disorders in non-Western cultures. Findings suggest that BN is a culture-bound syndrome and AN is not. Thus, heritability estimates for BN may show greater variability cross-culturally than heritability estimates for AN, and the genetic bases of these disorders may be associated with differential pathoplasticity.

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