Editor's Correspondence |

Epidemiology of Depression in a Chinese Rural Population—Reply

Ruoling Chen, MD, PhD; Zhi Hu, MD, PhD; Xia Qin, BSc; Li Wei, MD, PhD; John R. M. Copeland, MD, FRCP; Harry Hemingway, MD, FRCP
Arch Intern Med. 2006;166(8):931-932. doi:10.1001/archinte.166.8.931-b.
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In reply

We appreciate Dr Dong and colleagues' interest in our recent article.1 As they may know, it would be difficult to complete a household-based survey in such a rural Chinese community without the local village leader's help. Using mail and telephone to contact the target population is unrealistic because many elderly are illiterate, and few will have an available telephone. The elderly are likely to refuse to collaborate with “strangers” (taking the interviewers as intruders) without the locally known person's introduction. Thus, one of the village leaders, mostly a young or middle-aged woman responsible for planning reproduction in the local community, led each of the interviewers to the houses of the elderly persons. After briefly introducing the interviewer to an eligible person, the village leader then left to take another interviewer to the house of the next elderly interviewee. The interviewer explained the aims and methods of the study—including investigating other diseases (eg, cardiovascular) and taking physical and blood pressure measurements. We consider that the breadth of investigation actually encouraged our older sample to participate. There were no financial incentives.

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