Mental health and poverty in developing countries: Revisiting the relationship
The 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.
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|
|Order Information:|| Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Angus Deaton & Salman Zaidi, 2002.
"Guidelines for Constructing Consumption Aggregates for Welfare Analysis,"
World Bank Publications,
The World Bank, number 14101, May.
- Deaton, A. & Zaidi, S., 1999. "Guidelines for Constructing Consumption Aggregates for Welfare Analysis," Papers 192, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
- Angus Deaton & Salman Zaidi, 1999. "Guidelines for Constructing Consumption Aggregates For Welfare Analysis," Working Papers 217, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
- 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," Working Papers in Economics 06/04, University of Waikato, Department of Economics.
- 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.
- John Gibson & David McKenzie & Steven Stillman, 2006. "Migration and mental health: Evidence from a natural experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00334, The Field Experiments Website.
- Patel, Vikram & Araya, Ricardo & de Lima, Mauricio & Ludermir, Ana & Todd, Charles, 1999. "Women, poverty and common mental disorders in four restructuring societies," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 49(11), pages 1461-1471, December.
- Daniel Chiquiar & Gordon H. Hanson, 2005. "International Migration, Self-Selection, and the Distribution of Wages: Evidence from Mexico and the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 239-281, April.
- Daniel Chiquiar & Gordon H. Hanson, 2002. "International Migration, Self-Selection, and the Distribution of Wages: Evidence from Mexico and the United States," NBER Working Papers 9242, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bartel, Ann & Taubman, Paul, 1986. "Some Economic and Demographic Consequences of Mental Illness," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(2), pages 243-256, April.
- Adonis Yatchew, 1998. "Nonparametric Regression Techniques in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 669-721, June.
- 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.
- Das, Jishnu & Hammer, Jeffrey, 2005. "Which doctor? Combining vignettes and item response to measure clinical competence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 348-383, December. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)