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Negative socioeconomic changes and mental disorders: a longitudinal study
  1. María Gabriela Barbaglia1,
  2. Margreet ten Have2,
  3. Saskia Dorsselaer2,
  4. Jordi Alonso1,
  5. Ron de Graaf2
  1. 1Health Services Research Unit, Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques-IMIM, Barcelona, Spain
  2. 2Department of Epidemiology, Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction, Utrecht, Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to María Gabriela Barbaglia, Health Services Research Group, Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques, Barcelona, Spain; gbarbaglia{at}


Background There is increasing interest on whether the current global economic uncertainties have an influence on the population's mental health. In this paper, we examined the association of negative socioeconomic changes, job loss and household income reductions with incident mental disorders. The moderating effect of gender was assessed.

Methods Data come from the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study-2 (NEMESIS-2), a representative population-based, longitudinal study. Individuals with a paid job and without a 12-month mental disorder at baseline were selected and reassessed 3 years later (2007–2009/2010–2012). Substantial household income reductions and not being at a paid job anymore were self-reported at follow-up. Multivariate logistic models were utilised to investigate the association between these negative socioeconomic changes and the incidence of mood, anxiety and substance use Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV disorders assessed by the Composite International Diagnostic Interview 3.0.

Results After 3 years, 6% had lost their job, 11% had a substantial household income reduction and 12.2% had developed a mental disorder. Household income reductions increased the risk of any mental disorder (aOR=1.77), particularly the risk of mood (aOR=2.24). Job loss increased the risk of mood disorders (aOR=2.02). Gender modified the relationship: job loss increased the risk of any mental disorder among men (aOR=3.04) and household income reductions did so among women (aOR=2.32).

Conclusions Negative socioeconomic changes occurring within a short time period significantly increased the risk of incident mental disorders, particularly of mood disorders. Effective interventions to alleviate the public mental health impact of negative socioeconomic changes on men and women are needed.


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