Open Access Open Badges Study protocol

The MentDis_ICF65+ study protocol: prevalence, 1-year incidence and symptom severity of mental disorders in the elderly and their relationship to impairment, functioning (ICF) and service utilisation

Sylke Andreas12*, Martin Härter1, Jana Volkert1, Maria Hausberg1, Susanne Sehner3, Karl Wegscheider3, Sven Rabung12, Berta Ausín4, Alessandra Canuto5, Chiara Da Ronch6, Luigi Grassi6, Yael Hershkovitz7, Paul Lelliott8, Manuel Muñoz4, Alan Quirk8, Ora Rotenstein7, Ana Belén Santos-Olmo4, Arieh Shalev7, Jens Siegert9, Kerstin Weber5, Hans-Ulrich Wittchen9, Uwe Koch1 and Holger Schulz1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medical Psychology, Centre for Psychosocial Medicine, University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistr. 52, Building W 26, Hamburg D-20246, Germany

2 Institute for Psychology, Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt, Klagenfurt A-9020, Austria

3 Department of Biometry and Epidemiology, University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistr. 52, Building W 34, Hamburg D-20246, Germany

4 School of Psychology, University Complutense of Madrid, Campus de Somosaguas s/n, Madrid 28223, Spain

5 Division of liaison psychiatry and crisis intervention, Department of psychiatry and mental health, University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG), Rue Gabrielle Perret-Gentil 4, Geneva 14 1211, Switzerland

6 Section of Psychiatry, Department of Biomedical and Specialty Surgical Sciences, Corso Giovecca 203, Ferrara 44121, Italy

7 Department of Psychiatry, Hadassah University Medical Center, Kiryat Hadassah, P.O.B 12000, Jerusalem 91120, Israel

8 Royal College of Psychiatry, Mansell Street 21, E18AA, London, United Kingdom

9 Institute of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Chemnitzer Straße 46, Dresden 01187, Germany

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BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:62  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-62

Published: 18 February 2013



The EU currently lacks reliable data on the prevalence and incidence of mental disorders in older people. Despite the availability of several national and international epidemiological studies, the size and burden of mental disorders in the elderly remain unclear due to various reasons. Therefore, the aims of the MentDis_ICF65+ study are (1) to adapt existing assessment instruments, and (2) to collect data on the prevalence, the incidence, and the natural course and prognosis of mental disorders in the elderly.


Using a cross-sectional and prospective longitudinal design, this multi-centre study from six European countries and associated states (Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland) is based on age-stratified, random samples of elderly people living in the community. The study program consists of three phases: (1) a methodological phase devoted primarily to the adaptation of age- and gender-specific assessment tools for older people (e.g., the Composite International Diagnostic Interview, CIDI) as well as psychometric evaluations including translation, back translation; (2) a baseline community study in all participating countries to assess the lifetime, 12 month and 1 month prevalence and comorbidity of mental disorders, including prior course, quality of life, health care utilization and helpseeking, impairments and participation and, (3) a 12 month follow-up of all baseline participants to monitor course and outcome as well as examine predictors.


The study is an essential step forward towards the further development and improvement of harmonised instruments for the assessment of mental disorders as well as the evaluation of activity impairment and participation in older adults. This study will also facilitate the comparison of cross-cultural results. These results will have bearing on mental health care in the EU and will offer a starting point for necessary structural changes to be initiated for mental health care policy at the level of mental health care politics.

Mental health; Mental disorders; Elderly; Prevalence; Incidence; Health care use; ICF; Epidemiology