Psychological distress among adult urban population of Puducherry

Murugan N., Amit Kumar Mishra, Ramesh Chand Chauhan, Velavan A.


Background: A large proportion of population in the community with psychological distress goes unnoticed. This study was done to assess the psychological distress among adult population of an urban area of Puducherry.

Methods: The study was conducted among 569 individuals of age 18 years and above. Systematic random sampling method was used to select the households in the study area and from each household one adult was randomly selected. The General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12) was used to assess the psychological distress among the study participants.

Results: Majority of the participants had low psychological distress (60.5%) followed by typical (19.3%), more than typical (10%), evidence of psychological distress (6.2%) & severe distress (4%). One-fifth (20.2%) of the participants had psychological distress which needs attention. The mental health status of the participants was significantly associated with the age, sex, marital status, religion and education (p<0.05).

Conclusions: The psychological distress is a major public health problem in the study population. Focused interventions to improve the mental health of population are required to decrease the mental distress in the community.



Psychological, Distress, Mental health, GHQ-12, Community

Full Text:



WHO: Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference. WHO definition of Health. (Official Records of the World Health Organization, no. 2, p. 100) and entered into force on 7 April 1948. 1946: 100.

Prince M, Patel V, Saxena S, Maj M, Maselko J, Phillips MR, et al. No health without mental health. Lancet. 2007;370(9590):859–77.

Mathers CD, Loncar D, Murray C, Lopez A, Murray C, Lopez A, et al. Projections of Global Mortality and Burden of Disease from 2002 to 2030. PLoS Med. 2006;3(11):442.

4. Doku VCK, Wusu-Takyi A, Awakame J. Implementing the Mental Health Act in Ghana: any challenges ahead? Ghana Med J. 2012;46(4):241–50.

WHO | Integrating mental health into primary care: a global perspective. WHO, 2013.

Weiss MG, Isaac M, Parkar SR, Chowdhury AN, Raguram R. Global, national, and local approaches to mental health: examples from India. Trop Med Int Health. 2001;6(1):4–23.

Simon GE, Goldberg D, Tiemens BG, Ustun TB. Outcomes of recognized and unrecognized depression in an international primary care study. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2016;21(2):97–105.

Patel V, Maj M, Flisher AJ, De Silva MJ, Koschorke M, Prince M, et al. Reducing the treatment gap for mental disorders: a WPA survey. World Psychiatry. 2010;9(3):169–76.

Goldberg DP, Gater R, Sartorius N, Ustun TB, Piccinelli M, Gureje O, et al. The validity of two versions of the GHQ in the WHO study of mental illness in general health care. Psychol Med. 1997;27(1):191–7.

Dalal AP, Bala VD. Socio-demographic, General Health Status and Mental Health Profile of First Year Medical Students of NHL MMC, Ahmedabad-2011 Admission Batch. NHL J Med Sci. 2013;2(2):69-74.

Doherty DT, Moran R, Kartalova-O ’doherty Y. Psychological distress, mental health problems and use of health services in Ireland. Available at: Accessed on September 26, 2017.

Zulkefly SN, Baharudin R. Using the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) to Assess the Psychological Health of Malaysian College Students. Glob J Health Sci. 2010;2(1):73.

Sánchez-López M del P, Dresch V. The 12-Item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12): reliability, external validity and factor structure in the Spanish population. Psicothema. 2008;20(4):839–43.