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# Community disaster exposure and first onset of depression: A panel analysis of nationally representative South African data, 2008–2017

PLOS Climate
Public Library of Science (PLoS)

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### Abstract

Sub-Saharan Africa faces unprecedented disasters, with climate change expected to exacerbate the frequency and severity of unpredictable and stressful catastrophic events. Unlike developed nations, reconstruction in developing nations is hindered by resource constraints, with certain communities potentially experiencing multiple and enduring effects of disasters. Despite the potential danger of such cumulative community disaster exposure on mental health (e.g. depression), large-scale population-level evidence for the region is limited. We investigated the association between exposure to cumulative disaster and the first onset of depression in a nationally representative survey in South Africa. We used panel data from the South African National Income Dynamics Study (SA-NIDS) from 2008–2017, consisting of 17,255 adult study participants who were depression free at baseline. Risk of first depression onset between individuals exposed and unexposed to community disaster was measured, accounting for multiple disaster exposure over time by fitting generalized estimating equation (GEE) regression models. Data on the geographic location of disasters were obtained from the South African government gazette, and mapped with the government delineated SA-NIDS households’ locations. Of the sampled individuals, 2,986 were exposed to disaster during the study duration (17.3%). Increased cumulative community disaster was significantly associated with the likelihood of depression onset (adjusted relative risk [aRR] = 1.20, p<0.01, 95% CI: 1.09–1.33), even after controlling for socio-demographic factors. In sub-group analyses, greater likelihood of depression onset was found among females [but not in men] (aRR = 1.23, p<0.01, 95% CI: 1.09–1.38), Black African [but not in other population group] (aRR = 1.21, p<0.01, 95% CI: 1.09–1.36), lower education attainment group [but not in tertiary and above educational attainment group] (aRR = 1.20, p<0.01, 95% CI: 1.08–1.33), and lower income attainment group [but not in the top income quartile group] (aRR = 1.24, p<0.01, 95% CI: 1.11–1.38), due to cumulative community disaster. Although cumulative community disaster exposure was significantly associated with the first onset of depression, its negative impact may be more pronounced among individuals considered chronically socially vulnerable (i.e. the groups above) in South Africa. Given that many individuals in South Africa rely on social, food parcel relief, and health services from government/public sector, timely access to community-based supportive intervention is needed for disaster survivors, prioritizing socially vulnerable groups to help mitigate problems associated with mental health challenges.

### Most cited references72

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### Screening for depression in well older adults: evaluation of a short form of the CES-D (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale).

(1994)
We derived and tested a short form of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) for reliability and validity among a sample of well older adults in a large Health Maintenance Organization. The 10-item screening questionnaire, the CESD-10, showed good predictive accuracy when compared to the full-length 20-item version of the CES-D (kappa = .97, P or = 16 for the full-length questionnaire and > or = 10 for the 10-item version. We discuss other potential cutoff values. The CESD-10 showed an expected positive correlation with poorer health status scores (r = .37) and a strong negative correlation with positive affect (r = -.63). Retest correlations for the CESD-10 were comparable to those in other studies (r = .71). We administered the CESD-10 again after 12 months, and scores were stable with strong correlation of r = .59.
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### The 2019 report of The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: ensuring that the health of a child born today is not defined by a changing climate

(2020)
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### Global patterns of workplace productivity for people with depression: absenteeism and presenteeism costs across eight diverse countries

(2016)
Purpose Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Research suggests that by far, the greatest contributor to the overall economic impact of depression is loss in productivity; however, there is very little research on the costs of depression outside of Western high-income countries. Thus, this study examines the impact of depression on workplace productivity across eight diverse countries. Methods We estimated the extent and costs of depression-related absenteeism and presenteeism in the workplace across eight countries: Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, South Africa, and the USA. We also examined the individual, workplace, and societal factors associated with lower productivity. Results To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the impact of depression on workplace productivity across a diverse set of countries, in terms of both culture and GDP. Mean annual per person costs for absenteeism were lowest in South Korea at $181 and highest in Japan ($2674). Mean presenteeism costs per person were highest in the USA ($5524) and Brazil ($5788). Costs associated with presenteeism tended to be 5–10 times higher than those associated with absenteeism. Conclusions These findings suggest that the impact of depression in the workplace is considerable across all countries, both in absolute monetary terms and in relation to proportion of country GDP. Overall, depression is an issue deserving much greater attention, regardless of a country’s economic development, national income or culture.
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### Author and article information

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###### Journal
PLOS Climate
PLOS Clim
Public Library of Science (PLoS)
2767-3200
April 6 2022
April 6 2022
: 1
: 4
: e0000024
###### Article
10.1371/journal.pclm.0000024
32b4d2a6-0183-48dd-96a1-bed061d2607b