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An epidemiological study of NA in Chinese-Americans in Los Angeles

  [ 93 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
By Zheng YP, Lin KM, Takeuchi D, Kurasaki KS, Wang Y, Cheung F • • September 25, 1997

This study examined the prevalence and clinical features of
ICD-10-defined neurasthenia (NT) in Chinese-Americans and its
relations to other psychiatric disorders. In this community
epidemiological survey, the enhanced Composite International
Diagnostic Interview [CIDI], with a supplemental NT module,
was administered to 1,747 Chinese-Americans, selected with a
stratified cluster sampling method. The SCL-90-R was also used
for measuring psychiatric morbidity and symptoms. Dimensions
of social stress and social support were measured by
established instruments. A total of 112 ICD-10 NT subjects
(6.4%) were identified. Of these, 63 (56.3%) did not
experience any current and lifetime DSM-III-R diagnoses,
yielding a 12-month or lifetime prevalence rate of "pure" NT
of 3.61%. This rate was much higher than any of the other
psychiatric disorders in this sample. Compared with normal
subjects, "pure" NT subjects had significantly higher SCL-90-R
total and factor scores, experienced more psychosocial stress,
and perceived less social support (P < .05 or .01). Compared
with subjects with depression and anxiety disorders, "pure" NT
cases reported significantly less SCL-90-R psychological
symptoms (P < .05 or .01), but had a strikingly similar
elevation in the somatization subscale score. These data
suggest that NT is a distinctive clinical condition
overlapping only partially with the other better recognized
diagnostic entities. In view of its high prevalence and the
salience of its impact on the health of those afflicted, it is
imperative that concerted research efforts be made to further
elucidate the temporal stability, natural course, and outcome
of such a condition.

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