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Area disadvantage and mental health over the life course: a 69-year prospective birth cohort study

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posted on 2023-04-19, 14:12 authored by Ioannis Bakolis, Emily T Murray, Rebecca HardyRebecca Hardy, Stephani L Hatch, Marcus Richards

Purpose: Existing evidence on the mental health consequences of disadvantaged areas uses cross-sectional or longitudinal studies with short observation periods. The objective of this research was to investigate this association over a 69-year period.

Methods: Data were obtained from the MRC National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD; the British 1946 birth cohort), which consisted of 2125 participants at 69 years. We assessed longitudinal associations between area disadvantage and mental health symptoms at adolescence and adulthood with use of multilevel modelling framework.

Results: After adjustment for father’s social class, for each one percentage increase in area disadvantage at age 4 there was a 0.02 (95% CI: 0.001, 0.04) mean increase in the total score of the neuroticism scale at age 13-15. After adjustment for father’s social class, adult socio-economic position, cognitive ability and educational attainment, a one percentage increase in change score of area disadvantage between age 4 and 26 was associated with a mean increase in the total Psychiatric Symptom Frequency score (MD 0.06; 95% CI: 0.007, 0.11). Similar associations were observed with change scores between ages 4, 53, 60 and total General Health Questionnaire-28 score at age 53 (MD 0.05; 95% CI: 0.01, 0.11) and 60-64 (MD 0.06; 95% CI: 0.009, 0.11).

Conclusions: Cohort members who experienced increasing area disadvantage from childhood were at increased risk of poor mental health over the life course. Population-wide interventions aiming at improving social and physical aspects of the early neighborhood environment could reduce the socio-economic burden of poor mental health.

Funding

National Institute for Health and Social Care Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre

NIHR Biomedical Research

Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

NIHR Applied Research

Centre for Society and Mental Health

Economic and Social Research Council

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Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12019/1 and 3)

Cohort and Longitudinal Studies Enhancement Resources (CLOSER)

Economic and Social Research Council

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History

School

  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

Volume

58

Issue

5

Pages

735-744

Publisher

Springer

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Authors

Publisher statement

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Acceptance date

2023-01-12

Publication date

2023-02-09

Copyright date

2023

ISSN

0933-7954

eISSN

1433-9285

Language

  • en

Depositor

Prof Rebecca Hardy. Deposit date: 20 January 2023

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