Physical health among patients with common mental health disorders in primary care in Europe: a scoping review

F. Fogarty, G. McCombe, K. Brown, T. Van Amelsvoort, M. Clarke, W. Cullen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


Introduction:Mental disorders are increasingly common among adults in both the developed and developing world and are predicted by the WHO to be the leading cause of disease burden by 2030. Many common physical conditions are more common among people who also have a common mental disorder. This scoping review aims to examine the current literature about the prevention, identification and treatment of physical problems among people with pre-existing mental health disorders in primary care in Europe.Methods:The scoping review framework comprised a five-stage process developed by Arksey & O'Malley (2005). The search process was guided by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. Both quantitative and qualitative studies were included, with no restriction on study design.Results:The initial search identified 299 studies, with a further 28 added from the hand-search (total n = 327) of which 19 were considered relevant to the review research question and included for full analysis. Depression was the mental health condition most commonly studied (nine studies), followed by depression and anxiety (seven studies), with three studies examining any mental disorder. Eleven studies examined the effects of various interventions to address physical and mental comorbidity, with the most commonly studied intervention being collaborative care.Conclusions:With just 19 studies meeting our criteria for inclusion, there is clearly a paucity of research in this area. Further research is essential in order to understand the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the association between mental disorders and chronic conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0790966720000026
Pages (from-to)76-92
Number of pages17
JournalIrish Journal of Psychological Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • Mental health
  • physical health
  • primary care
  • RISK


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