Socioeconomic Position at Age 30 Predicts Later Mental Health Diagnosis

Associations strongest for substance misuse and schizophrenia spectrum disorder

THURSDAY, Feb. 9, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Poor socioeconomic position (SEP) at age 30 years is associated with a higher risk for a subsequent mental disorder diagnosis, according to a study published online Feb. 6 in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Christian Hakulinen, Ph.D., from the University of Helsinki in Finland, and colleagues examined the association between multiple indicators of SEP at age 30 years and the subsequent risk for the most common mental disorders. The analysis included 1.27 million people born in Finland between 1966 and 1986.

The researchers found that 26 percent of the study population was later diagnosed with a mental disorder. There was a consistent association seen between lower SEP at age 30 years and higher risk for a later diagnosis of a mental disorder, even after adjusting for shared family characteristics and prior history of a mental disorder. Associations were considerably stronger for substance misuse or schizophrenia spectrum disorders. By age 52 years, more than half of persons who had low educational attainment at age 30 years were later diagnosed with a mental disorder (58 percent).

“Policies that allocate greater amounts of preventive measures to persons with low SEP to mitigate the disease burden of mental disorders in the society should be encouraged,” the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text

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