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In England, a peak in poor mental health in middle-aged people is present only among low-income households

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Question

Question

Is the presence of a peak in prevalence of poor mental health in middle age linked to low income?

Population

94,870 adults (aged ≥16 years) living in England. Data for this study came from the Health Survey for England (HSE), a nationally representative survey of people living in England. Data were extracted for adults who completed the HSE each year from 1997 to 2006. Only those who provided data on household income mental health outcomes, and potential confounders, and completed the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) were included.

Setting

General population, England; from 1997 to 2006.

Assessment

HSE interviews assessed socio economic, demographic, and psychosocial factors, health, prescribed medications and health service use. The GHQ-12 was used to assess general happiness, symptoms of anxiety or depression and sleep disturbance, in the previous 4 weeks. Participants rated each item on the GHQ-12 on a 4-point scale, and based on this researchers assigned a score of 0 for responses indicating that the symptom had been experienced ‘not at all’, ‘same as usual’ or ‘more than usual’; and a …

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