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Mental health patterns and consequences : results from survey data in five developing countries

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

Abstract

The social and economic consequences of poor mental health in the developing world are presumed to be significant, yet are largely under-researched. The authors argue that mental health modules can be meaningfully added to multi-purpose household surveys in developing countries, and used to investigate this relationship. Data from nationally representative surveys in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Indonesia, and Mexico, along with special surveys from India and Tonga, show similar patterns of association between mental health and socioeconomic characteristics across countries. Individuals who are older, female, widowed, and report poor physical health are more likely to report worse mental health outcomes. 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 relationship between mental health and poverty or education, common measures of socio-economic status. The results instead suggest that economic and multi-dimensional shocks such as illness or crisis can have a greater impact on mental healththan overall levels of poverty. This may have important implications for social protection policy. The authors also find significant associations between poor mental health and lowered labor force participation (especially for women) and higher frequency visits to health centers, suggesting that poor mental health can have significant economic consequences for households and the health system. Finally, the paper discusses how measures of mental health are distinct from general subjective welfare measures such as happiness and indicate useful directions of future research.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4495.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2008
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4495

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Keywords: Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Disease Control&Prevention; Gender and Health; Health Systems Development&Reform; Mental Health;

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Anders Björklund, 1985. "Unemployment and Mental Health: Some Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(4), pages 469-483.
  5. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Mayra Buvinic & Monica Das Gupta & Ursula Casabonne & Philip Verwimp, 2013. "Violent Conflict and Gender Inequality: An Overview," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 28(1), pages 110-138, February.
  4. 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.
  5. Maren M. Michaelsen, 2012. "Mental Health and Labour Supply: Evidence from Mexico’s Ongoing Violent Conflicts," HiCN Working Papers 117, Households in Conflict Network.
  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. Rojas, Mariano, 2011. "Poverty and psychological distress in Latin America," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 206-217, March.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Research Group, Development, 2008. "Lessons from World Bank Research on Financial Crises," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4779, The World Bank.

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