Background/Objectives: Imprisonment has been associated with mental illness, especially depression.
Aims/objectives: To investigate the prevalence of depressive disorders among inmates of Port Harcourt Prisons, South, Nigeria.
Methods: Through stratified random sampling, 400 prisoners were interviewed using the Depression component of WHO SCAN in a 2-stage design after having been screened with the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). The study was descriptive in nature and used psychometric evaluation. A questionnaire with socio- demographic was administered along with the Beck Depression Inventory. The author performed bivariate and multivariate analysis regarding depression. SPSS Version 17, was used for analysis and test of significance was set at p<0.05.
Findings: 169 subjects presented with depression according to the BDI. However SCAN revealed a prevalence of 59 (14.8%) for mild depression with somatic features, 57 (14.2%) for moderate depression with somatic features, 25 (6.2%) severe depression without psychotic features, while 18 (4.5%) had severe depression with psychotic features. The overall true prevalence of depression was 37%. Socio-demographic factors were found to be statistically significant included age (with being older acting as a protective factor), marital status, and place of living. Multiple Logistic regression analysis, however, revealed that the strongest predictors of depression among the subjects, were living in the urban area (OR: 0.31, CI=0.14-0.68, p<0.01), when correcting for confounders.
Discussion/Conclusions: The prevalence of depression was found to be high. Most of those identified were neither diagnosed nor received treatment. Undetected, under-detected and under-treated depression in the prisoners is an increasing public health problem.