Relatively more Turkish women and Moroccan men than native Dutch report feel depressed

20/12/2013 15:00

Just over 10 percent of the Dutch population reported that they had felt sombre or depressed in 2012, and nearly 6 percent were prescribed anti-depressants in 2011. Feelings of depression are much more common among Turkish women and Moroccan men. 

Just over one in ten people feel depressed

In Statistics Netherlands’ health survey, conducted in 2012, one in ten people reported that they had felt continually sombre or depressed for at least two weeks in the previous 12 months. Women report feelings of depression one and a half times as often as men. The proportion of people feeling depressed has hardly changed in recent years.

Large differences between ethnic origins

Large differences can be distinguished between the various population groups in the Netherlands. For example, 21 percent of Moroccan men reported these symptoms in 2006-2012, compared with 7 percent of native Dutch men. Among Turkish women, as many as 26 percent were sombre or depressed, compared with 11 percent of native Dutch women.

The age composition of population groups in the Netherlands with a foreign background differs from that of the native Dutch population. Education levels and employment rates also differ, all factors which are known to be associated with feeling depressed. However, these aspects explain only part of the differences. Even after correction for these factors, the share of people who feel depressed remains relatively high among Turkish women and Moroccan men.

Share of people (12 years and older) who feel depressed, 2006/2012

Share of people (12 years and older) who feel depressed, 2006/2012

Six percent on anti-depressants

In 2011, on average nearly 6 percent of the population were prescribed anti-depressants which were covered by basic medical insurance. This proportion has increased slightly in recent years, and is higher for Turkish men and women and for Moroccan men than for the native Dutch. The share is highest among Turkish women, nearly 11 percent. This picture corresponds to the results of the health survey. Surinamese women, on the other hand, reported higher rates of depression than Dutch native women, while fewer of them were prescribed anti-depressants.

Share of people (all ages) taking anti-depressants, 2011

Share of people (all ages) taking anti-depressants, 2011

Relatively many Turkish middle-aged women on anti-depressants

Among native Dutch women, anti-depressant use rises with age, up to around age 45, after which it remains fairly stable. For Turkish women there is a prominent peak among 45-54-year-olds: more than 28 percent of them were prescribed anti-depressants in 2011, compared with 11 percent of native Dutch women in this age group. After 65 years of age, the differences between Turkish and Dutch women have almost disappeared.

Share of native Dutch and Turkish women on anti-depressants, by age, 2011

Share of native Dutch and Turkish women on anti-depressants, by age, 2011

Marieke Houben - van Herten and Gerard Verweij