Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Poor mental health linked to reduced life expectancy

Date:
July 31, 2012
Source:
Wellcome Trust
Summary:
People with mental health problems have a lower life expectancy, according to a large-scale population based study. The findings may prompt further research into the way doctors treat patients with even mild psychological problems.

People with mental health problems have a lower life expectancy, according to a large-scale population based study published July 31 in the British Medical Journal. The findings may prompt further research into the way doctors treat patients with even mild psychological problems.

Related Articles


A team of researchers from UCL (University College London) and the University of Edinburgh analysed data from over 68,000 adults aged 35 years and over who took part in the Health Survey for England from 1994 to 2004.

Participants in the study had been evaluated for mental health problems using a recognised scale ranging from no symptoms to severe symptoms of depression and anxiety. The team then looked to see whether people who reported these symptoms during the study were more likely to have died over an 8 year period. They also examined whether there was an association with death from cardiovascular disease, cancer or from external causes of death.

Their results reveal that people who experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression had a lower life expectancy than those without any such symptoms. Even people with minor symptoms of mental health problems seemed to have a higher risk of death from several major causes, including cardiovascular disease.

Dr David Batty, a Wellcome Trust research fellow in the Department of Epidemiology & Public Health at UCL and senior author on the study, explains: "These associations also remained after we did our best to take into account other factors such as weight, exercise, smoking, alcohol consumption and diabetes. Therefore this increased mortality is not simply due to people with higher levels of psychological distress having poorer health behaviours."

There is a possibility that mental health problems may be associated with biological changes in the body that increase the risk of diseases such as heart disease.

In this study, approximately a quarter of people suffered from minor symptoms of anxiety and depression, however, these patients do not usually come to the attention of mental health services. The authors say that their findings could have implications for the way minor mental health problems are treated.

Dr Tom Russ, Alzheimer Scotland clinical research fellow at the University of Edinburgh, said: "The fact that an increased risk of mortality was evident, even at low levels of psychological distress, should prompt research into whether treatment of these very common, minor symptoms can reduce this increased risk of death."

Previous studies investigating the association between symptoms of mental health and life expectancy have been small and unable to reliably measure thresholds of risk. This is the largest study to address the problem to date.

John Williams, Head of Neuroscience and Mental Health at the Wellcome Trust, said: "People with mental health problems are among the most vulnerable in society. This study highlights the need to ensure they have access to appropriate health care and advice so that they can take steps to improve the outcome of their illness."

Understanding the brain and finding improved approaches for treating brain and mental health disorders is one of the Wellcome Trust's five strategic research challenges.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wellcome Trust. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wellcome Trust. "Poor mental health linked to reduced life expectancy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120731201257.htm>.
Wellcome Trust. (2012, July 31). Poor mental health linked to reduced life expectancy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120731201257.htm
Wellcome Trust. "Poor mental health linked to reduced life expectancy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120731201257.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins