Aim. The aim of the present study was to assess and explain the reasons for the regionally dependent disparity in hospitalization of patients with affective disorders.
Methods. The hospitalization prevalence (i.e. the percentage of a population that was hospitalized in different Polish provinces in 1999 and 2001) was analyzed. The following independent variables, which may influence the hospitalization prevalence, were taken into account: three demographic traits (i.e. gender, age, permanent residence in the country or in town), ten health and social variables (the percentage of people living lonely not-married, below the social minimum or eke out an existence, the unemployment rate, the suicidal rate, alcohol abuse, the prevalence of affective disorders and related mental disabilities in the mental health outpatient clinics), two measures of the mental health care accessibility and four measures of the mental health care performance (an average length of hospitalization, a hospital admission index for mental illness, affective disorders, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia). Correlation coefficients between the hospitalization prevalence and independent variables were calculated using the Spearman's non-parametric coefficient.
Results. According to the region, a hospital admission index varies significantly with the highest in the Wielkopolska, Ziemia Kujawsko-Pomorska and Podlasie Province and the lowest (a twofold decrease) in the Śląsk, Ziemia Świętokrzyska and Pomorze Zachodnie Province. The following independent variables influenced the hospitalization prevalence: age between 20 and 44, the fact of being female and the permanent residence in town. The regionally dependent disparity does not depend on the Province demographic traits and analyzed health and social variables. There was a week correlation between the hospitalization prevalence and the period of stay in a hospital: the more patients admitted the shorter length of hospitalization. In two Provinces (Podlasie and Pomorze Zachodnie) high hospitalization prevalence probably resulted from the higher availability of hospital beds. A considerable increase in the number of hospitalization in the Province of Wielkopolska was due to the diagnostic preferences for affective disorders.