Mental Health Patterns and Consequences: Results from Survey Data in Five Developing Countries

29 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016  

Jishnu Das

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Quy-Toan Do

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Jed Friedman

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG); World Bank Group

David J. McKenzie

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Date Written: January 1, 2008

Abstract

The social and economic consequences of poor mental health in the developing world are presumed to be significant, yet are largely under-researched. The authors argue that mental health modules can be meaningfully added to multi-purpose household surveys in developing countries, and used to investigate this relationship. Data from nationally representative surveys in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Indonesia, and Mexico, along with special surveys from India and Tonga, show similar patterns of association between mental health and socioeconomic characteristics across countries. Individuals who are older, female, widowed, and report poor physical health are more likely to report worse mental health outcomes. Individuals living with others with poor mental health are also significantly more likely to report worse mental health themselves. In contrast, there is little observed relationship between mental health and poverty or education, common measures of socio-economic status. The results instead suggest that economic and multi-dimensional shocks such as illness or crisis can have a greater impact on mental health than overall levels of poverty. This may have important implications for social protection policy. The authors also find significant associations between poor mental health and lowered labor force participation (especially for women) and higher frequency visits to health centers, suggesting that poor mental health can have significant economic consequences for households and the health system. Finally, the paper discusses how measures of mental health are distinct from general subjective welfare measures such as happiness and indicate useful directions of future research.

Keywords: Health Monitoring & Evaluation, Disease Control & Prevention, Gender and Health, Health Systems Development & Reform, Mental Health

Suggested Citation

Das, Jishnu and Do, Quy-Toan and Friedman, Jed and McKenzie, David J., Mental Health Patterns and Consequences: Results from Survey Data in Five Developing Countries (January 1, 2008). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper Series, Vol. , pp. -, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1089266

Jishnu Das

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Quy Toan Do

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Jed Arnold Friedman (Contact Author)

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

World Bank Group ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

David John McKenzie

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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