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Depression hurts, depression costs: The medical spending attributable to depression and depressive symptoms in China

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  • Chee‐Ruey Hsieh
  • Xuezheng Qin

Abstract

Due to its fast economic growth and lifestyle changes, China is experiencing a rapid epidemiological transition from communicable to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Mental disorder such as depression is an important yet often neglected NCD and is becoming a growing cause of disability, suicides, and disease burden. This paper provides the first nationally representative estimate of the medical cost attributable to depression and depressive symptoms among the adult population in China. On the basis of the 2012 China Family Panel Studies survey, our results indicate that these mental health conditions have significant impacts on the individual medical expenditure, and they jointly contribute to 14.7% of total personal expected medical spending in China, with depression and depressive symptoms accounting for 6.9% and 7.8%, respectively. Given that patients with mental illness face multiple psychological and institutional barriers in seeking appropriate treatment, the high depression‐induced medical costs may be primarily driven by the cost‐shifting effect from mental health care to general health care, as mental disorders often coexist with other NCDs such as diabetes and hypertension. As an implication, our study calls for an urgent reform of China's mental health and insurance systems to remove the policy‐induced obstacles for the access to mental health care resources.

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  • Chee‐Ruey Hsieh & Xuezheng Qin, 2018. "Depression hurts, depression costs: The medical spending attributable to depression and depressive symptoms in China," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(3), pages 525-544, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:27:y:2018:i:3:p:525-544
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.3604
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    Cited by:

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    2. Nie, Peng & Wang, Lu & Dragone, Davide & Lu, Haiyang & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2022. "“The better you feel, the harder you fall”: Health perception biases and mental health among Chinese adults during the COVID-19 pandemic," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    3. Li, Yunwei & Ning, Xiao & Wang, Zijie & Cheng, Jingyu & Li, Fumeng & Hao, Yu, 2022. "Would energy poverty affect the wellbeing of senior citizens? Evidence from China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 200(C).
    4. Zhou, Mi & Sun, Xiaotong & Huang, Li, 2021. "Does social pension expansion relieve depression and decrease medical costs? Evidence from the rural elderly in China," 2021 ASAE 10th International Conference (Virtual), January 11-13, Beijing, China 329417, Asian Society of Agricultural Economists (ASAE).
    5. Nie, Peng & Li, Qiaoge & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso, 2021. "Energy poverty and subjective well-being in China: New evidence from the China Family Panel Studies," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C).
    6. Yun Wu & Dongbao Zhao & Jianwei Guo & Yingsi Lai & Lijin Chen & Sihui Jin & Yixiang Huang, 2021. "Economic Burden of Depressive Symptoms Conditions among Middle-Aged and Elderly People with Hypertension in China," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(19), pages 1-11, September.
    7. Zhang, Haochen & Qin, Xuezheng & Zhou, Jiantao, 2020. "Do tiger moms raise superior kids? The impact of parenting style on adolescent human capital formation in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).
    8. Jun Zhang & Yuang He & Jing Zhang, 2022. "Energy Poverty and Depression in Rural China: Evidence from the Quantile Regression Approach," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(2), pages 1-21, January.
    9. Yossie Susanti Eka Putri & I Gusti Ngurah Edi Putra & Annida Falahaini & Ice Yulia Wardani, 2022. "Factors Associated with Caregiver Burden in Caregivers of Older Patients with Dementia in Indonesia," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(19), pages 1-13, September.
    10. Zhong, Jingdong & Wang, Tianyi & He, Yang & Gao, Jingjing & Liu, Chengfang & Lai, Fang & Zhang, Liuxiu & Luo, Renfu, 2021. "Interrelationships of caregiver mental health, parenting practices, and child development in rural China," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 121(C).
    11. Xiaocang Xu & Haoran Yang, 2022. "Elderly chronic diseases and catastrophic health expenditure: an important cause of Borderline Poor Families’ return to poverty in rural China," Palgrave Communications, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 9(1), pages 1-10, December.
    12. Juerong Huang & Hongjing Dang & Yan Cai & Juan Liu & Qihui Chen, 2022. "Myopia and Depression among Middle School Students in China—Is There a Mediating Role for Wearing Eyeglasses?," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(20), pages 1-18, October.

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