Mental health of Spanish men worsened with the crisis, study reports

January 17, 2014

Experts and social organizations have warned of the negative effects that the economic crisis could mean for the health of the population. But it was not easy to demonstrate with data what is happening. A new comparative analysis of the last two National Health Surveys revealed a rise in mental health problems in men (from 15% in 2006 to 17% in 2012), which contrasts on the other hand with a decrease in women (25% in 2006 to 23% in 2012).

The article, published in the European Journal of Public Health, is signed by researchers from the Public Health Agency of Barcelona (ASPB) and the University of East Anglia (UK) and is part of the European research project SOPHIE (evaluation of the impact of structural policies on health inequalities, www.sophie-‐project.eu), coordinated by researchers at the Agency itself.

Two years ago, another study detected a worsening of patients on a sample of GPs. "Now, for the first time, we have seen what was going on in the whole population," explains Xavier Bartoll, first author of the study. "In addition, we found that the changes are not homogeneous, but differed according to sex and age and socioeconomic status".

Indeed,the decline in men is not uniform, but isconcentrated in people aged 35 to 54 (relative increase of 26%), with manual occupations (22%), primary or secondary education (28%),and more pronounced among immigrants (33%). The result is a significant increase in between socio-‐economic levels, as highlighted in the article.

The questionnaire used in the mental health National Health Survey includes symptoms of anxiety and depression in particular. The authors emphasize that the increase in symptoms in men appears to be mainly due to the increased proportion of men in unemployment, a known risk factor for poor mental health. Another recently published study noted an increase in suicides in middle-‐aged men.

Conversely, the improvement in women concentrates on those that have a job. "It is possible that, despite the burden that it means, many women are experiencing greater recognition and esteem in the new role of breadwinners that they are taking in many families," said Bartoll.

Finally, he adds:"While the economy is still not recovering, long‐term unemployment increases, and cutbacks on public programs of social protection occurred even after the last survey, one may not expect improvement". And wider consequences for the health of the population may start to emerge further to the miner's canary of mental health symptoms.

Explore further: Women with a high economic status claim to have better sex

More information: Xavier Bartoll, Laia Palència, Davide Malmusi, Marc Suhrcke, Carme Borrell. The evolution of mental health in Spain during the economic crisis. European Journal of Public Health, 2013 Dec 23. dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckt208

Related Stories

Women with a high economic status claim to have better sex

January 15, 2014
An analysis based on the first Spanish National Sexual Health Survey, carried out in 2009, confirms that socioeconomic factors affect sexual satisfaction. People with a lower economic status claim to be less sexually satisfied, ...

People with mental health problems hit harder by recession

July 27, 2013
Since the start of the recession, the rate of unemployment for people with mental health problems has risen more than twice as much than for people without mental health problems, according to new research from King's College ...

Men bearing brunt of worsening mental health in England since start of 2008 recession

October 17, 2012
Men have borne the brunt of worsening mental health across the population of England since the start of the economic downturn in 2008, reveals research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Single mothers most at risk of poor mental health

December 16, 2013
Single parents tend to have poorer mental health than partnered parents, with single mothers particularly at risk, new research from the University of Otago Wellington (UOW) shows.

Parental leave policies best promote gender equity and well-being in women's health

January 15, 2014
Government policies that allow both parents to take time off after a child is born provide positive benefits for the physical and mental health of women, according to a literature review that looked at the influence of public ...

Depression and mental health services usage

September 30, 2013
More than half the people in Ontario who reported they had major depression did not use physician-based mental health services in the following year, a new study has found.

Recommended for you

Even babies can tell who's the boss, UW research says

July 27, 2017
The charismatic colleague, the natural leader, the life of the party - all are personal qualities that adults recognize instinctively. These socially dominant types, according to repeated studies, also tend to accomplish ...

Infants know what we like best, study finds

July 27, 2017
Behind the chubby cheeks and bright eyes of babies as young as 8 months lies the smoothly whirring mind of a social statistician, logging our every move and making odds on what a person is most likely to do next, suggests ...

DREAMers at greater risk for mental health distress

July 27, 2017
Immigrants who came to the United States illegally as small children and who meet the requirements of the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, more commonly known as DREAMers, are at risk for mental health ...

Negativity, be gone—new online tool can retrain your brain

July 27, 2017
Anxiety and depression can have devastating effects on people's lives. In some cases, the mental disorders lead to isolation, poverty and poor physical health, things that often cascade to future generations.

Research aims to shape more precise treatments for depression in women

July 27, 2017
Among women in the United States, depression is at epidemic levels: Approximately 12 million women in the U.S. experience clinical depression each year, and more than 12 percent of women can expect to experience depression ...

Very preterm birth not associated with mood and anxiety disorders, new research finds

July 27, 2017
Do very-preterm or very-low-weight babies develop anxiety and mood disorders later in life? Julia Jaekel, assistant professor of child and family studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Dieter Wolke, professor ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.