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Associations between individual mental health and the local social environment: a multilevel analysis

Fone, David Lawrence, Lloyd, K. R. and Dunstan, Frank David John 2008. Associations between individual mental health and the local social environment: a multilevel analysis. European Psychiatry 23 (S2) , pp. 273-274. 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2008.01.565

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Background/Aims: To derive small-area, or contextual, measures of the local social environment using benefits data from the UK Department of Work and Pensions and to investigate whether (1) the mental health status of individuals is associated with contextual measures of low income, economic inactivity, and disability, after adjusting for personal risk factors for poor mental health, (2) the associations between mental health and context vary significantly between different population sub-groups. Methods: Data from the Welsh Health Survey 1998 were analysed in multilevel Normal response regression models of 24,975 adults aged under 75 years living in 833 wards in Wales (mean population 3,500). The mental health outcome measure was the Mental Health Inventory (MHI-5). The age-standardised ward-level benefits data available were the means tested Income Support and Income-based Job Seekers Allowance, and the non-means tested Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance. Results: Each contextual variable was significantly associated with individual mental health status after adjusting for individual risk factors, so that living in a ward with high levels of claimants was associated with worse mental health. The non-means tested benefits that were proxy measures of economic inactivity from permanent sickness or disability showed stronger associations with individual mental health than the means tested benefits. All contextual effects were significantly stronger in people who were economically inactive and unavailable for work. Conclusion: This study provides evidence for substantive contextual effects on mental health, and in particular the importance of small-area levels of economic inactivity and disability.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Additional Information: 16th AEP Congress — Abstract book
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0924-9338
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2020 01:47

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