The distribution of the common mental disorders: social inequalities in Europe
Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health
Copyright © 2005 Fryers et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Background: The social class distribution of the common mental disorders (mostly anxiety and/or depression) has been in doubt until recently. This paper reviews the evidence of associations between the prevalence of the common mental disorders in adults of working age and markers of socio-economic disadvantage. Methods: Work is reviewed which brings together major population surveys from the last 25 years, together with work trawling for all European population studies. Data from more recent studies is examined, analysed and discussed. Because of differences in methods, instruments and analyses, little can be compared precsiely, but internal associations can be examined. Findings: People of lower socio-economic status, however measured, are disadvantaged, and this includes higher frequencies of the conditions now called the 'common mental disorders' (mostly non-psychotic depression and anxiety, either separately or together). In European and similar developed populations, relatively high frequencies are associated with poor education, material disadvantage and unemployment. Conclusion: The large contribution of the common mental disorders to morbidity and disability, and the social consequences in working age adults would justify substantial priority being given to addressing mental health inequalities, and deprivation in general, within national and European social and economic policy.
Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health, 2005, 1:14
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