Objective: The low level of psychiatric research in low- and middle-income (LAMI) countries has been identified as a cause for concern, particularly because the extent of the unmet need for psychiatric treatment in many LAMI countries is not known. The aim of this study was to establish if the worldwide increase in research publication during the last decade included an increase in publication about mental disorders from LAMI countries. Method: We searched PubMed for articles about mental disorder, depression and schizophrenia using the names of LAMI and high-income (HI) countries in the institutional affi liation address (AD) field published during two five-year periods: 1998-2002 and 2003-2007. We then examined the relationship between per capita publications about mental disorder and the independent variables of per capita gross domestic product purchasing power parity (GDP ppp), per capita psychiatric beds, per capita psychiatrists, total population and whether the country had a designated mental health budget. Results: The number of medical research publications per capita, and the number of publications about mental disorder from LAMI countries is low when compared to the rate from HI countries. However, the absolute number of publications from LAMI regions and the proportion of research publications about mental disorder, schizophrenia and depression increased significantly during the decade of the study. There were independent associations between GDP ppp and population size and the rate of publications about mental disorder in LAMI countries. Conclusions: The overall increase in the number of publications about mental disorder in the last decade probably reflects an increase in psychiatric research in LAMI countries. The increase in rates of publication was greatest in middle-income countries with the largest populations.
- low- and middle-income countries
- mental disorder
- scientific publication