Comparison of antidepressant use between adult populations living in urban and rural communities in Israel

Sharon Leventhal Perek*, Katharine Thomas, Anat Gaver, Andre Matalon, Hanny Yeshua

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Depression and anxiety are among the most prevalent disorders in primary care. City dwelling is commonly cited as a risk factor for mental disorders, but epidemiological evidence for this relationship is inconclusive. Objective To compare the prevalence of antidepressant use, as a proxy for the level of depressive disorders, between patients in Israeli urban and rural communities. Methods A cross-sectional study, based on data drawn from the registry of the largest health maintenance organization in Israel. The prevalence of antidepressant purchase during 2014 was evaluated for 581291 patients living in urban and rural communities. Data were also collected for potential confounding variables: age, gender, comorbidity, socioeconomic status and being a holocaust survivor. Results Results showed higher rates of antidepressant use among patients living in urban (11.8%) compared with rural communities (8.1%; <0.001). A particularly high rate of antidepressant use was found on kibbutz (15.9%), a collective rural community in Israel, compared with both urban and other rural communities. Kibbutz compared with other rural communities: odds ratio (OR) = 1.73, P < 0.001; urban communities compared with non-kibbutz rural communities: OR = 1.21, P < 0.001. A significantly lower rate of antidepressant use was found in urban and rural Arab-majority communities (3.9% and 3.8%, respectively). Conclusions Antidepressant use varies significantly between different communities in Israel. The highest rate of antidepressant use in our study was found on kibbutz, followed by that in urban communities, with the lowest rates in non-kibbutz rural communities. This difference may derive from different depression rates, stigma of mental illness and awareness of mental disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-20
Number of pages9
JournalFamily Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 26 Sep 2018


FundersFunder number
Israel Association of Family Physicians2015-01


    • Antidepressant medications
    • anxiety
    • depression
    • rural health
    • urban health
    • urbanization


    Dive into the research topics of 'Comparison of antidepressant use between adult populations living in urban and rural communities in Israel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this