Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) Survey of Mental Disorders, Wave I (Household), 1980-1985: [United States] (ICPSR 8993)

Version Date: Jun 3, 1994 View help for published

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United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institute of Mental Health


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The Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) program of research was initiated in response to the 1977 report of the President's Commission on Mental Health. The purpose was to collect data on the prevalence and incidence of mental disorders and on the use of and need for services by the mentally ill. The ECA Survey is the largest and most comprehensive survey of mental disorders ever conducted in the United States. The scope and complexity of the survey design were made possible because of the confluence of the recent standardization of psychiatric diagnostic criteria and the availability of advanced computer data processing systems. Independent research teams at five universities (Yale, Johns Hopkins, Washington University, Duke University, and University of California at Los Angeles), in collaboration with NIMH, conducted the studies with a core of common questions and sample characteristics. The sites were areas that had previously been designated as Community Mental Health Center catchment areas (New Haven, CN, Baltimore, MD, St. Louis, MO, Durham, NC, and Los Angeles, CA). The ECA encompassed a Household Survey and an Institutional Survey at each site, with two waves of personal interviews administered one year apart and a brief telephone interview in between. The structured psychiatric diagnostic interview used in the ECA was the NIMH Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS), version III (with the exception of the Yale Wave I survey, which used version II). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd edition (DSM-III) diagnoses derived from the DIS include manic episode, major depressive episode, dysthymia, bipolar disorder, alcohol abuse or dependence, drug abuse or dependence, schizophrenia, schizophreniform, obsessive compulsive disorder, phobia, somatization, panic, antisocial personality, and anorexia nervosa. The DIS elicits diagnoses across the respondent's full life span and also indicates when symptoms appeared during the last year (within last two weeks, last month, last six months, and last full year). The DIS uses the Mini-Mental State Examination to screen, when respondents appear confused, for cognitive impairment and inability to complete the interview, and continuation by a proxy interview.

United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institute of Mental Health. Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) Survey of Mental Disorders, Wave I (Household), 1980-1985: [United States]. [distributor], 1994-06-03. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08993.v1

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1980 -- 1985
  1. This study is replaced by EPIDEMIOLOGIC CATCHMENT AREA STUDY, 1980-1985: [UNITED STATES] (ICPSR 6153).


Multistage probability sampling was used at each site, with initial sampling from geographic clusters at some sites, and household and respondent samples at all sites. There was a minimum sample size at each site of 3,000 adults in the Household Survey, and a minimum of 500 residents of institutions. Elderly household residents were oversampled at the New Haven, Durham, and Baltimore sites. The St. Louis site oversampled Blacks and the Los Angeles site oversampled Hispanics.

Community Mental Health Center catchment areas (defined as geographic areas with populations of 75,000-250,000) in the United States. A minimum population size of 200,000 was required at each site, to enable study of specific mental disorders that have prevalence rates below one percent in the general population. The household population was defined as all persons 18 years or older, residing in a household geographically located within the catchment area and having no other usual place of residence.

personal interviews



2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Mental Health. EPIDEMIOLOGIC CATCHMENT AREA (ECA) SURVEY OF MENTAL DISORDERS, WAVE I (HOUSEHOLD), 1980-1985: [UNITED STATES]. Rockville, MD: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Mental Health [producer], 1985. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1991. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08993.v1


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