Relationship between socioeconomic deprivation and depressive symptomatology, in adults aged 50 years or more, among European countries

Nadal Sala, Anna
Background Depression is one of the diseases most prevalent and disabling worldwide. According to different studies, depression is related to socioeconomic deprivation which is a measure to asses if the individual is part of low socioeconomic position. Socioeconomic position has also been assessed using variables such income, occupation or education level, among others, but these types of variables consider only a single part of socioeconomic position unlike socioeconomic deprivation which takes into account other factors involved. Objective The main objective is to assess if the degree of the association between socioeconomic deprivation and the prevalence of clinically significant depressive symptomatology is different among European countries in adults aged 50 and over. Methods A cross-sectional study has been carried out using data of 14 European countries and 1 non-European country and that has been obtained from the 5th wave of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). In order to measure the independent variable (socioeconomic deprivation) a multidimensional index of socioeconomic deprivation developed specially for the 5th wave of the SHARE has been used; the dependent variable (clinically significant depressive symptomatology) has been measured with the EURO-D scale and a cut-off point of 3 has been defined. Data of other variables associated with depression and socioeconomic deprivation have been collected: employment, gender, age groups, education, marital status, being medicated with anxiolytics or antidepressants, BMI, number of chronic diseases, history of affective emotional disorders and self-rated general health state. Results The countries with a higher proportion of people with socioeconomic deprivation have higher prevalence rates of clinically significant depressive symptomatology and those countries with a lower proportion of people with socioeconomic deprivation have lower prevalence rates of clinically significant depressive symptomatology. However, the association between the independent variable and the dependent variable is stronger in the countries with a lower proportion of people with socioeconomic deprivation. This can be explained with "the status anxiety hypothesis" which exposes that the perception of lower social status leads to poorer health because the people with socioeconomic deprivation tend to compare themselves with those in higher socioeconomic position and this comparison worsens when differences between people not socioeconomic deprived and people socioeconomic deprived are wider ​
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