Debt, common mental disorders and mental health service use

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Background: Uncertainty remains as to whether the effects of debt on common mental disorder (CMD) are persistent over time and what impact it has on mental health service use (MHSU).
Aims: To determine the distribution of debt across sociodemographic and socioeconomic statuses; to examine whether debt influences CMD recovery over time; and to determine the effects of episodic and/or long-term debt and CMD on MHSU outcomes.
Method: Data were collected from phase 1 (N=1698) and phase 2 (N=1052) of the South East London Community Health (SELCoH) study, a population-based survey.
Results: 37.2% of participants who reported debt at SELCoH 1 and 46.6% at SELCoH 2 experienced concurrent CMD. Those with concurrent exposure to debt and CMD at SELCoH 1 were at greater risk of CMD at SELCoH 2. Debt accumulation was strongly associated with CMD cross-sectionally; however, this somewhat dissipated over time. Reporting any debt at SELCoH 2 or debt at both time-points were strongly associated with MHSU in the past year in the fully adjusted model adjusting for prior mental health.
Conclusions: More focus is needed on concurrent exposure to debt and CMD with regards to subsequent psychological impact and consequences for MHSU.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Early online date10 Nov 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Nov 2018


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