Levels and determinants of psychological distress in eight countries of the former Soviet Union

Roberts, B; Abbott, P; McKee, M; (2010) Levels and determinants of psychological distress in eight countries of the former Soviet Union. Journal of public mental health, 9 (3). pp. 17-26. ISSN 1746-5729

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Although it is well recognised that the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent widespread social and economic changes impacted on the levels and distribution of physical health, there is very limited evidence on the social patterning of mental health in the countries that emerged. The aim of this paper is to assess levels of psychological distress and describe its demographic, social and economic correlates in eight former Soviet countries.Cross-sectional surveys using multi-stage random sampling were conducted in Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine. A standardised questionnaire was used for all countries, including the main outcome for this study of psychological distress, which consisted of 12 items on symptoms of psychological distress. Respondents who repor ted 10-12 of the symptoms were considered to have a high psychological distress score. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was then used to investigate how demographic, social and economic factors were associated with a high psychological distress score.High psychological distress in seven of the eight countries ranges from 3.8% in Kazakhstan to 10% in Ukraine but was substantially higher (21.7%) in Armenia. Factors associated with psychological distress in the multivariate analysis included: being female; increasing age; incomplete secondary education; being disabled; experiencing two or more stressful events in the past year; lack of trust in people; lack of personal suppor t in crisis; being unemployed; and poor household economic situation.The study contributes evidence on the association of impoverishment and social isolation on psychological distress in countries of the former Soviet Union and highlights the impor tance of exploring ways of improving mental health by addressing its social determinants.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Health Services Research and Policy
Research Centre: ECOHOST - The Centre for Health and Social Change
Centre for Global Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
Centre for Global Mental Health
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/2948


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