Mental health and poverty in developing countries: Revisiting the relationship
AbstractThe relationship between poverty and mental health has received considerable attention in the recent literature. However, the associations presented in existing studies typically rely on limited samples of individuals and on proxy indicators for poverty such as education, the lack of tap water, or being unemployed. We revisit the relationship between poverty and mental health using data from nationally representative household surveys in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Indonesia and Mexico, along with special surveys from India and Tonga. As in previous studies, we find that individuals who are older, female, widowed, and in poor health are more likely to report worse mental health outcomes. Individuals living with others with poor mental health are significantly more likely to report worse mental health themselves. The size of the coefficients and their significance are comparable across the five countries. In contrast to previous studies, the relationship between higher education and better mental health is weak or non-existent. Furthermore, there is no consistent association between consumption poverty and mental health - in two countries mental health measures are marginally worse for the poor; in two countries there is no association; and in one country mental health measures are better for the poor compared to the non-poor. Moreover, the sizes of the coefficients for both education and consumption poverty are small compared to other factors considered here. While the lack of an association between consumption poverty and mental health implies that poor mental health is not a "disease of affluence", neither is it a disease of poverty. Changes in life circumstances brought on, for instance, by illness may have a greater impact on mental health than levels of poverty. Effective public health policy for mental health should focus on protecting individuals and households from adverse events and on targeted interventions following such adverse changes.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.
Volume (Year): 65 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Stillman, Steven & McKenzie, David & Gibson, John, 2007.
"Migration and mental health : evidence from a natural experiment,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
4138, The World Bank.
- Stillman, Steven & McKenzie, David & Gibson, John, 2009. "Migration and mental health: Evidence from a natural experiment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 677-687, May.
- Steven Stillman & David McKenzie & John Gibson, 2006. "Migration and mental health: Evidence from a natural experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00334, The Field Experiments Website.
- Steven Stillman & David McKenzie & John Gibson, 2006. "Migration and Mental Health: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Working Papers in Economics 06/04, University of Waikato, Department of Economics.
- James P. Smith & John Strauss & Xiaoyan Lei & Albert Park & Yan Shen & James P. Smith & Zhe Yang & Yaohui Zhao, 2010.
"Health Outcomes and Socio-Economic Status Among the Elderly in China: Evidence from the CHARLS Pilot,"
774, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
- Strauss, John & Lei, Xiaoyan & Park, Albert & Shen, Yan & Smith, James P. & Yang, Zhe & Zhao, Yaohui, 2010. "Health Outcomes and Socio-Economic Status among the Elderly in China: Evidence from the CHARLS Pilot," IZA Discussion Papers 5152, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Rojas, Mariano, 2011. "Poverty and psychological distress in Latin America," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 206-217, March.
- Cole, Steven M. & Tembo, Gelson, 2011. "The effect of food insecurity on mental health: Panel evidence from rural Zambia," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(7), pages 1071-1079.
- Das, Jishnu & Das, Ranendra Kumar & Das, Veena, 2012. "The mental health gender-gap in urban India: Patterns and narratives," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(9), pages 1660-1672.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.