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QuickStats: Percentage of Adults with Self-Assessed Symptoms of Serious Psychological Distress,* by Sex and Race --- United States, 2000--2004

* Six psychological distress questions were included in the adult component of the National Health Interview Survey. These questions asked: "During the past 30 days, how often did you feel 1) so sad that nothing could cheer you up, 2) nervous, 3) restless or fidgety, 4) hopeless, 5) that everything was an effort, or 6) worthless?" Response codes (0--4) for the six items for each person were summed to yield a point value on a 0--24 point scale. A value of 13 or more was used to define serious psychological distress.

Estimates are age adjusted to the 2000 projected U.S. standard population aged >18 years using four age groups: 18--24 years, 25--44 years, 45--64 years, and >65 years. Estimates are based on household interviews of a sample of the civilian, noninstitutionalized U.S. population.

§ 95% confidence interval.

Persons who indicated a single racial group.

During 2000--2004, American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) adults were most likely to have self-assessed symptoms of serious psychological distress, and Asian adults were least likely. Overall, the percentage was highest for AI/AN women, who were at least twice as likely as white women and black women and nearly four times as likely as Asian women to have self-assessed symptoms of serious psychological distress. AI/AN men were more than three times as likely as Asian men to have symptoms.

SOURCES: National Health Interview Surveys, 2000--2004. Available at

Barnes PM, Adams PF, Powell-Griner E. Health characteristics of the American Indian and Alaska Native adult population: United States 1999--2003. Advance data from vital and health statistics; no. 356. Hyattsville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2005. Available at

Kessler RC, Barker PR, Colpe LJ, et al. Screening for serious mental illness in the general population. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2003;60:184--9.

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Date last reviewed: 7/27/2006


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