The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
EDG Participated in the design and co-ordination of the study, performed statistical analyses, drafted the manuscript. CRC, ZS, JW, AWT Participated in the design and co-ordination of the study, advise on analyses, and were involved in the drafting and revising of the manuscript. RDG Participated was involved in the drafting and revising of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
To assess the association of socioeconomic position (SEP), measured by family financial situation and housing tenure in childhood and adulthood, with mental health conditions in adulthood.
Representative cross-sectional population data were collected using a risk factor surveillance system in South Australia, Australia. Each month, a random sample were selected from the Electronic White Pages. Participants aged 25 years and above (n = 10429) were asked about doctor diagnosed anxiety, stress or depression, suicidal ideation, psychological distress, demographic and socioeconomic factors using Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI). Social mobility measures were derived from housing status and perceived financial situation during adulthood and at 10 years of age.
The prevalence of psychological distress was 8.1 %, current diagnosed mental health condition was 14.8 % and suicidal ideation was 4.3 %. Upward mobility in family financial situation and housing tenure was experienced by 28.6 % and 19.3 %, of respondents respectively. Downward mobility was experienced by 9.4 % for housing tenure and 11.3 % for family financial situation. In the multivariable analysis, after adjusting for age, sex, childhood family structure and adult education, downward social mobility and stable low SEP (both childhood and adulthood), in terms of both housing tenure and financial situation, were positively associated with all three mental health conditions.
People with low SEP in adulthood had poor mental health outcomes regardless of their socioeconomic circumstances in childhood. Policies to improve SEP have the potential to reduce mental health conditions in the population.