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The relationship between national levels of unemployment and the rate of admission to mental hospitals in England and Wales, 1950–1976

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Using a retrospective design based on archival data the hypothesis that there exists an inverse relationship between the level of economic activity as indexed by the rate of unemployment and the rate of first admissions to mental hospitals was tested. It was found that between 1950 and 1976 other economic indicators (such as economic growth and expenditure on welfare) had substantially stronger relationships with first admission rates than did unemployment. When these other factors were controlled a positive relationship was found, for both sexes, between the rate of unemployment and the mental hospital first admissions rate. However, the relationship for males was statistically significant only for those aged 25–44 years and for females only for those aged between 20 and 54 years. Contrary to findings in the United States, introducing a time lag between changes in unemployment and changes in hospital admissions did not produce a stronger relationship, and in Britain females were more sensitive to economic fluctuations than were males.

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Stokes, G., Cochrane, R. The relationship between national levels of unemployment and the rate of admission to mental hospitals in England and Wales, 1950–1976. Soc Psychiatry 19, 117–125 (1984).

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  • Public Health
  • Economic Growth
  • Positive Relationship
  • Hospital Admission
  • Economic Activity