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Friday, July 10, 1998 Published at 08:09 GMT 09:09 UK


Money linked to mental illness

Money: the root of mental health problems

Money worries are the root of common mental disorders such as anxiety and depression, a study has suggested.

Researchers found a strong link between "financial strain" and the appearance of mental problems.

One the study's authors Professor Glyn Lewis: 'It has implications for social policy'
Genuine poverty was not linked to the onset of either anxiety or depression.

However depressed or anxious people were more likely to stay that way if they were poor.

[ image: Money worries cause depression and anxiety]
Money worries cause depression and anxiety
A group of 7,726 adults from England, Wales and Scotland, took part in the research.

Dr Scott Weich, from the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, London, and Professor Glyn Lewis, from the University of Wales, Cardiff, assessed financial strain by asking subjects: "How well would you say you are managing financially these days?"

The answers were divided into "living comfortably or doing all right", "just about getting by" or "finding it difficult or very difficult".

Poverty was assessed according to annual household income, material possessions and savings.

The results, published in the British Medical Journal, showed financial strain to be a "powerful independent predictor" of both the onset and maintenance of common mental disorders.

Both poverty and unemployment were linked with maintenance, but not onset.

Prone to pessimism

The researchers wrote: "Although it is most likely that financial strain was simply the most accurate measure of standard of living it may also represent an aspect of personality such as proneness to pessimism or worry.

"There is a need to better understand the nature of this risk factor and its relation with poverty and unemployment if we are to meet the major public health challenge of reducing the prevalence of these costly and disabling disorders."

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