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Mental Health Patterns and Consequences: Results from Survey Data in Five Developing Countries

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  • Jishnu Das
  • Quy-Toan Do
  • Jed Friedman
  • David McKenzie

Abstract

The social and economic consequences of poor mental health in the developing world are presumed to be significant, yet remain underresearched. This study uses data from nationally representative surveys in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Indonesia, and Mexico and from special surveys in India and Tonga to show similar patterns of association between mental health and socioeconomic characteristics. Individuals who are older, female, widowed, and report poor physical health are more likely to report worse mental health. Individuals living with others with poor mental health are also significantly more likely to report worse mental health themselves. In contrast, there is little observed relation between mental health and consumption poverty or education, two common measures of socioeconomic status. Indeed, the results here suggest instead that economic and multidimensional shocks, such as illness or crisis, can have a greater impact on mental health than poverty. This may have important implications for social protection policy. Also significant, the associations between poor mental health and lower labor force participation (especially for women) and more frequent visits to health centers suggest that poor mental health can have economic consequences for households and the health system. Mental health modules could usefully be added to multipurpose household surveys in developing countries. Finally, measures of mental health appear distinct from general subjective measures of welfare such as happiness. Copyright The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / the world bank . All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 23 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (August)
Pages: 31-55

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:23:y:2008:i:1:p:31-55

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  1. Björklund, Anders, 1984. "Unemployment and Mental Health: Some Evidence from Panel Data," Working Paper Series 120, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  2. Steven Stillman & David McKenzie & John Gibson, 2006. "Migration and mental health: Evidence from a natural experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00334, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Das, Jishnu & Sanchez-Paramo, Carolina, 2003. "Short but not sweet - new evidence on short duration morbidities from India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2971, The World Bank.
  4. Michael Lokshin & Martin Ravallion, 2008. "Testing for an economic gradient in health status using subjective data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(11), pages 1237-1259.
  5. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2008. "Mental health recovery and economic recovery after the tsunami: High-frequency longitudinal evidence from Sri Lankan small business owners," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 582-595, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Huijun Liu & Shuzhuo Li & Marc Feldman, 2013. "Gender in Marriage and Life Satisfaction Under Gender Imbalance in China: The Role of Intergenerational Support and SES," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 114(3), pages 915-933, December.
  2. Research Group, Development, 2008. "Lessons from World Bank Research on Financial Crises," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4779, The World Bank.
  3. Mayra Buvinic & Monica Das Gupta & Ursula Casabonne & Philip Verwimp, 2012. "Violent Conflict and Gender Inequality: An Overview," HiCN Working Papers 129, Households in Conflict Network.
  4. Rojas, Mariano, 2011. "Poverty and psychological distress in Latin America," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 206-217, March.
  5. Lars Osberg & Andrew Sharpe, 2012. "Measuring Economic Insecurity in Rich and Poor Nations," CSLS Research Reports 2012-03, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
  6. Groh, Matthew & Krishnan, Nandini & McKenzie, David & Vishwanath, Tara, 2012. "Soft skills or hard cash ? the impact of training and wage subsidy programs on female youth employment in Jordan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6141, The World Bank.
  7. David Fielding, 2013. "How Much Does Women's Empowerment Influence their Wellbeing? Evidence from Africa," Working Papers 1307, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2013.
  8. Nicola Jones & Hannah Marsden, 2010. "Assessing the Impacts of and Response to the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis through a Child Rights Lens," Working papers 1002, UNICEF,Division of Policy and Strategy.
  9. Maren M. Michaelsen, 2012. "Mental Health and Labour Supply: Evidence from Mexico’s Ongoing Violent Conflicts," HiCN Working Papers 117, Households in Conflict Network.
  10. Marcus Böhme & Ruth Persian & Tobias Stoehr, 2013. "Alone but Better Off? Adult Child Migration and Health of Elderly Parents in Moldova," Kiel Working Papers 1876, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

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