Prevalence and Predictors of Symptoms of Depression Among Individuals Seeking Treatment from Australian Drug and Alcohol Outpatient Clinics

  • Breanne HobdenEmail author
  • Mariko Carey
  • Jamie Bryant
  • Rob Sanson-Fisher
  • Christopher Oldmeadow
Original Paper


This study examined the prevalence of and sociodemographic characteristics associated with elevated symptoms of depression among clients seeking alcohol or other drug (AOD) treatment. Consenting clients attending two AOD outpatient clinics answered demographics, treatment questions and the Patient Health Questionnaire to assess depressive symptoms. Counts and percentages were calculated to determine the prevalence of elevated depressive symptoms. Logistic regression was used to model the odds of having elevated depressive symptoms for client demographics. Of the 203 clients who completed the survey (87% consent rate), 55% (n = 111) demonstrated elevated depressive symptoms. Females were twice as likely to experience elevated symptoms of depression compared to males (OR 2.07; 95% CI 1.05, 4.08; P = 0.037). The high rates of elevated depressive symptoms among individuals seeking AOD treatment highlight the importance of ongoing research to provide effective treatments for this comorbidity. Routine screening and clear treatment pathways may assist with providing high quality care.


Mental health Substance-related disorders Mood disorders Population characteristics 



This work was supported by a grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) (1073031). Ms. Breanne Hobden is supported by an Australian Rotary Health, Ian Scott Mental Health PhD Scholarship (G1401254). Dr. Mariko Carey is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Translating Research into Practice Fellowship (1073031). Dr. Jamie Bryant is supported by an Australian Research Council Post-Doctoral Industry Fellowship (1105809). The researchers would like to thank the staff at the AOD clinics.

Author Contributions

All authors certify responsibility for this manuscript, as outlined by the Community Mental Health Journal.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Ethical Approval

The Hunter New England Human Research Ethics Committee (15/06/17/4.02) and the University of Newcastle (H-2015-0414) granted full ethical approval for this research. All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Health Behaviour Research Collaborative, School of Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Health and MedicineUniversity of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia
  2. 2.Priority Research Centre for Health BehaviourUniversity of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia
  3. 3.Hunter Medical Research InstituteNew Lambton HeightsAustralia
  4. 4.Public Health Stream, Hunter Medical Research InstituteNew Lambton HeightsAustralia
  5. 5.Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and BiostatisticsUniversity of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia
  6. 6.Health Behaviour Research GroupCallaghanAustralia

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