Men’s Mental Health Hit Hard by Recession
BY Caroline Cassels
Oct 17, 2012
Dr. Pinna says…
In spite of the “emancipation of women” men still subconsciously and consciously believe
that they are the “bread winners.”
This feeling is the result of natural aggression in males.
At one period is our primitive history, such aggression resulted in battles.
Now, the same aggression has been funneled into work.
When the work is not there, the aggression turns inwards and creates depression.
Doctors see this constantly.
Unfortunately, pills do not solve this problem.
Social planning is the only answer.
The bigger the country, the more difficult is the solution.
ARTICLE FROM MEDSCAPE
The current economic downturn in the United Kingdom has hit men hardest, with increasing prevalence of poor mental health in the country’s male population, new research shows.
According to an analysis of survey data, in 2008, when the global economic decline began, the prevalence of mental ill health was 13.7%, rising to 16.4% in 2009, then falling back to 15.5% in 2010.
Over most of the period under study, more women than men reported poor mental health. But during periods of recession, the sharpest rises in the prevalence of mental ill health occurred among men.
Interestingly, the researchers note that this decline does not appear to be due to increased unemployment. Rather, they speculate that worry over potential job loss is likely the main culprit.
“One potential explanation for our results would be that job insecurity during the current recession is responsible for the deterioration in mental health with men’s psychological health remaining more affected by economic fluctuations despite greater female labour market participation,” the authors, led by Srinivasa Vittal Katikireddi, MBChB, Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, Medical Research Council, Glasgow, UK, write.
The study was published online October 17 in BMJ Open.
Sharp Rise in Mental Illness
According to the investigators, previous research has shown differing effects of economic recession on mental health, with some deterioration in mental health outcomes, such as suicide, being worse in men than women.
However, they add that few studies have investigated mental health morbidity and its patterning by population subgroups over prolonged periods.
To assess short-term changes in population mental health before and after the 2008 recession and to explore how and why such changes differ by sex, age, and socioeconomic status, investigators used data from the annual Health Survey for England, which includes adults aged 25 to 64 years, between 1991 and 2010.
Response rates during this period varied from 85% in 1991 to 64% in 2008 and included 106,985 participants.
Mental health was assessed using the General Health Questionnaire–12 (GHQ-12), which is designed to assess levels of anxiety and depression. Respondents who scored 4 or more on the GHQ-12 were deemed to have a higher likelihood of poor mental health.
The researchers found that rates of poor mental health were highest between 1991 and 1993, when the UK was in recession. After that, there was a steady fall until 2004, when there began a gradual rise until 2008 and then a sharp rise.
In the early 1990s, the prevalence of mental ill health among men rose from 12.3% in 1991 to 14.5% in 1992.
A similar trend occurred in the 2008 economic downturn, when the prevalence among men rose from 11.3% to 16.6% among men in 2009; among women, the prevalence rose from 16% to 16.2%.
The prevalence of poor mental health among men increased by 5.1% in 2009 and by 3% in 2010, but the investigators found no significant increases among women.
However, the authors note that the study only examined changes in mental health up to 2010, and women may have been affected more severely after this time, particularly given subsequent changes in public sector employment.
The prevalence of mental ill health was not restricted to the unemployed, and results remained unchanged after adjusting for employment status and educational attainment.
The researchers suggest that the reason for the sex differences in the impact of recession could be that men’s mental health is more vulnerable to the fear of job loss.
“This paper highlights the continuing importance of addressing mental health issues using population-wide approaches by both policy-makers and health professionals and not limiting such efforts to those directly affected by unemployment,” the authors write.