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Trajectories in mental health and socio-spatial conditions in a time of economic recovery and austerity: a longitudinal study in England, 2011-2017

Curtis, Sarah; Cunningham, Niall; Pearce, Jamie; Congdon, Peter; Cherrie, Mark; Atkinson, Sarah

Trajectories in mental health and socio-spatial conditions in a time of economic recovery and austerity: a longitudinal study in England, 2011-2017 Thumbnail


Authors

Niall Cunningham

Jamie Pearce

Peter Congdon

Mark Cherrie



Abstract

This paper examines trends in mental health among adults in England during the period of economic recovery and austerity following the 2008 ‘great recession’. We report analysis of data on 17,212 individuals living in England, from the longitudinal Understanding Society Survey (USS). We examined how individual's self-reported mental health over time (2011–2017), related to their changing socio-geographical status. Self-reported mental health is reported in the USS using version 2 of the SF12 Mental Component Summary. Trends in this score (across 5 observations per subject) were categorised into Mental Health Trajectory Groups (MHTGs) using Group Based Trajectory Modelling. We used maximum-likelihood multinomial logit models to estimate for individuals the relative likelihood of belonging to different Mental Health Trajectory categories as compared with a ‘base’ category, for whom mental health was good and stable throughout the period. We focus on likelihood of belonging to a group showing ‘declining’ mental health. Predictor variables included individuals' attributes and area conditions in their places of residence (including Office of National Statistics indicators of local employment deprivation and data on average income loss within districts due to welfare benefit reforms, published by the Centre of Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University, UK). Our results emphasise the multiple socio-geographical ‘determinants’ likely to be operating on individual mental health. Declining mental health was associated both with conditions at the start of the study period and with social and socio-geographical mobility by the end of the study period. Risks of declining mental health were significantly greater for more deprived individuals and also (controlling for individual attributes) among those living in English neighbourhoods that were already economically disadvantaged at the beginning of the ‘great recession’ and located in districts where average incomes were most severely impacted by the effects of governmental austerity programmes on welfare benefits.

Citation

Curtis, S., Cunningham, N., Pearce, J., Congdon, P., Cherrie, M., & Atkinson, S. (2021). Trajectories in mental health and socio-spatial conditions in a time of economic recovery and austerity: a longitudinal study in England, 2011-2017. Social Science & Medicine, 270, Article 113654. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.113654

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 22, 2020
Online Publication Date Dec 29, 2020
Publication Date 2021-02
Deposit Date Dec 24, 2020
Publicly Available Date Dec 29, 2021
Journal Social science and medicine
Print ISSN 0277-9536
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 270
Article Number 113654
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.113654
Keywords Mental-health England, Austerity, Deprivation, Geography, Mobility

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