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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Jishnu Das & Quy-Toan Do & Jed Friedman & David McKenzie, 2008. "Mental Health Patterns and Consequences: Results from Survey Data in Five Developing Countries," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 23(1), pages 31-55, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:23:y:2008:i:1:p:31-55
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    1. 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.
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    4. 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. Rojas, Mariano, 2011. "Poverty and psychological distress in Latin America," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 206-217, March.
    2. 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.
    3. repec:zbw:rwirep:0378 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Research Group, Development, 2008. "Lessons from World Bank Research on Financial Crises," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4779, The World Bank.
    5. Massimiliano Bratti & Mariapia Mendola & Alfonso Miranda, 2015. "Hard to Forget: the Long-Lasting Impact of War on Mental Health," Development Working Papers 388, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
    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. Maren M. Michaelsen, 2012. "Mental Health and Labour Supply – Evidence from Mexico‘s Ongoing Violent Conflicts," Ruhr Economic Papers 0378, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    8. Huijun Liu & Shuzhuo Li & Qunying Xiao & M. Feldman, 2014. "Social Support and Psychological Well-Being Under Social Change in Urban and Rural China," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 119(2), pages 979-996, November.
    9. Lars Osberg & Andrew Sharpe, 2014. "Measuring Economic Insecurity in Rich and Poor Nations," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(S1), pages 53-76, May.
    10. Michaelsen, Maren M., 2012. "Mental Health and Labour Supply – Evidence from Mexico's Ongoing Violent Conflicts," Ruhr Economic Papers 378, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    11. 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.
    12. Pierre-Richard Agénor & Madina Agénor, 2014. "Infrastructure, women’s time allocation, and economic development," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 113(1), pages 1-30, September.
    13. 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: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 114(3), pages 915-933, December.
    14. Sarah Baird & Jacobus de Hoop & Berk Özler, 2013. "Income Shocks and Adolescent Mental Health," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(2), pages 370-403.
    15. 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.
    16. Dinuk Jayasuriya, 2014. "Influence of Posttraumatic Growth on Mental Health and Well-being Across Respondents Severely Affected by War in Post-conflict Sri Lanka," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 119(1), pages 265-280, October.

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