Wealth Affects Link Between Psychological Stress, Mortality

Low socioeconomic status exacerbates effect of psychological distress on mortality

THURSDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Low socioeconomic status (SES) amplifies the association between psychological distress and all-cause mortality, according to a study published online Dec. 3 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

To examine whether SES moderates the impact of psychological distress on all-cause mortality, Antonio Ivan Lazzarino, M.D., from University College London, and colleagues analyzed data from 66,518 participants in the Health Survey for England. All were 35 years or older and free of cancer and cardiovascular disease at baseline. The 12-item General Health Questionnaire was used to measure psychological distress.

During a mean follow-up of 8.2 years, the researchers found that the crude incidence rate of death was 14.49 per 1,000 person-years. Psychological distress and low SES category were associated with increased mortality rates after adjustment for age and sex. The correlation between psychological distress and mortality varied with SES and was strongest in the lowest SES categories.

"We have shown that the association between psychological distress and all-cause mortality differs according to SES," the authors write. "A low SES level operates as an amplifier of the detrimental effect of psychological distress on mortality."

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