Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 90, Issue 4, pp 883–895 | Cite as

Treatment Rate for Major Depressive Disorder in China: a Meta-Analysis of Epidemiological Studies

  • Han Qi
  • Qian-Qian Zong
  • Grace K. I. Lok
  • Wen-Wang Rao
  • Feng-Rong An
  • Gabor S. Ungvari
  • Lloyd Balbuena
  • Qing-E ZhangEmail author
  • Yu-Tao XiangEmail author
Review Article


Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common psychiatric disorder in China, but its reported treatment rate varies largely across different studies. The objective of this meta-analysis was to determine the pooled treatment rate for people with MDD in China and its associated factors. Both English (PubMed, Cochrane Library, PsycINFO, Web of Science) and Chinese (Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure, WanFang and SinoMed) databases were searched from their commencement date to November 13, 2018. Epidemiological studies that reported the treatment rate of MDD were included and synthesized using a random effects model. Fifteen studies covering 609,054 participants were included. The pooled treatment rate for MDD in China was 19.5% (95% CI: 10.7%–28.4%). Among the 15 studies, 9 reported the number of patients who received treatments in psychiatric hospitals with a pooled treatment rate of 5.2% (95% CI: 2.8%–7.5%). Meta-regression found that study quality (β = 0.131, P = 0.028) and male gender (β = 0.006, P = 0.039) were significantly associated with a higher treatment rate for MDD. In China, the treatment rate for MDD, particularly in psychiatric hospitals, was low. Effective public education and increasing access to mental health services will probably increase the number of people seeking and receiving treatment.


Major depressive disorder Treatment rate Meta-analysis China 



The study was supported by the University of Macau (MYRG2015-00230-FHS; MYRG2016-00005-FHS), the National Key Research & Development Program of China (No. 2016YFC1307200), the Beijing Municipal Administration of Hospitals Incubating Program (No. PX2016028) and the Beijing Municipal Administration of Hospitals’ Ascent Plan (No. DFL20151801).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest concerning this article.

Human and Animal Rights

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants 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


Supplementary material

11126_2019_9666_Fig4_ESM.png (654 kb)
Supplementary Figure 1

Funnel plot of the 15 studies reporting treatment rate of MDD (PNG 654 kb)

11126_2019_9666_MOESM1_ESM.tif (33.9 mb)
High Resolution Image (TIF 34756 kb)
11126_2019_9666_Fig5_ESM.png (946 kb)
Supplementary Figure 2

Sensitivity analysis of the 15 studies reporting treatment rate of MDD (PNG 946 kb)

11126_2019_9666_MOESM2_ESM.tif (37.4 mb)
High Resolution Image (TIF 38272 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Han Qi
    • 1
  • Qian-Qian Zong
    • 2
  • Grace K. I. Lok
    • 3
  • Wen-Wang Rao
    • 3
  • Feng-Rong An
    • 1
  • Gabor S. Ungvari
    • 4
    • 5
  • Lloyd Balbuena
    • 6
  • Qing-E Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yu-Tao Xiang
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.The National Clinical Research Center for Mental Disorders & Beijing Key Laboratory of Mental Disorders, Beijing Anding Hospital & the Advanced Innovation Center for Human Brain ProtectionCapital Medical UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.School of NursingCapital Medical UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Unit of Psychiatry, Institute of Translational Medicine, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of MacauMacao SARChina
  4. 4.The University of Notre Dame AustraliaFremantleAustralia
  5. 5.Division of Psychiatry, School of MedicineUniversity of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia
  6. 6.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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