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Socio-economic position and common mental disorders: Longitudinal study in the general population in the UK

  • Petros Skapinakis (a1), Scott Weich (a2), Glyn Lewis (a3), Nicola Singleton (a4) and Ricardo Araya (a5)...
Abstract
Background

Individuals in lower socio-economic groups have an increased prevalence of common mental disorders.

Aims

To investigate the longitudinal association between socio-economic position and common mental disorders in a general population sample in the UK.

Method

Participants (n=2406) were assessed at two time points 18 months apart with the Revised Clinical Interview Schedule. The sample was stratified into two cohorts according to mental health status at baseline.

Results

None of the socio-economic indicators studied was significantly associated with an episode of common mental disorder at follow-up after adjusting for baseline psychiatric morbidity. The analysis of separate diagnostic categories showed that subjective financial difficulties at baseline were independently associated with depression at follow-up in both cohorts.

Conclusions

These findings support the view that apart from objective measures of socio-economic position, more subjective measures might be equally important from an aetiological or clinical perspective.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Petros Skapinakis, Department of Psychiatry, University of Bristol, Cotham House, Cotham Hill, Bristol BS6 6JL, UK. Email: p.skapinakis@bristol.ac.uk
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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Socio-economic position and common mental disorders: Longitudinal study in the general population in the UK

  • Petros Skapinakis (a1), Scott Weich (a2), Glyn Lewis (a3), Nicola Singleton (a4) and Ricardo Araya (a5)...
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eLetters

Subjective measures and common mental disorders

Maurits Van den Noort, Neuro and Rehabilitation Psychologist
09 August 2006

We read the article on socio-economic position and common mental disorders (Skapinakis et al, 2006) with interest. It was found that the socio-economic indicators were not significantly associated with an episode of common mental disorder at follow up. Whereas, subjective financial difficulties were independently associated with depression. We totally agree with the authors’ conclusion that not only objective, but also subjective measures are important from a clinical perspective. However, until now, these subjective measures are often overlooked.

Therefore, more research needs to be done on this topic since subjective measures could give a better understanding of how socio-economic circumstances contribute to common mental disorders. Finally, these studies can perhaps also explain why the results of previous studies, focusing on the relation between objective measures of socio-economic position and common mental disorders, are mixed (Muntaner et al, 2004).

References

Muntaner, C., Eaton, W.W., Miech, R., et al (2004) Socioeconomic position and major mental disorders. Epidemiologic Reviews, 26, 53-62.

Skapinakis, P., Weich, S., Lewis, G., et al (2006) Socio-economic position and common mental disorders: Longitudinal study in the general population in the UK. British Journal of Psychiatry, 189, 109-117.

Declaration of Interests: None
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Conflict of interest: None Declared

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