Socioeconomic status and beliefs about depression, schizophrenia and eating disorders

  • Olaf von dem Knesebeck
  • Eva Mnich
  • Anne Daubmann
  • Karl Wegscheider
  • Matthias C. Angermeyer
  • Martin Lambert
  • Anne Karow
  • Martin Härter
  • Christopher Kofahl
Original Paper

Abstract

Purpose

The association between socioeconomic status (SES) and knowledge/belief about depression, schizophrenia and eating disorders will be analysed.

Methods

Data stem from a telephone survey in two large German cities (Hamburg and Munich, n = 2,014, response rate 51 %). Written vignettes with typical signs and symptoms suggestive of a depression, schizophrenia and eating disorders were presented to the respondents. Respondents were then asked about knowledge/belief about causes, symptoms, prevalence and treatment using a standardised questionnaire. Education, occupational position and income were used as SES indicators.

Results

Results of mixed hierarchal logistic regression analyses show that individuals with a low SES know less about symptoms and prevalences of depression, schizophrenia and eating disorders. Moreover, people with a high SES are more likely to consider medication as effective in case of depression and schizophrenia, but are less likely to believe that activities such as sports or relaxation are an effective measure to treat the three mental disorders under study. Respondents with a high SES are less likely to believe that a weak will is a possible cause of depression, schizophrenia and eating disorders. We found large similarities in the associations between SES and beliefs across the three mental disorders. Finally, associations of beliefs about mental disorders with education are stronger and more consistent than with income and occupational position.

Conclusions

Results indicate an inequality in mental health literacy and underline that information campaigns on causes, symptoms, prevalence and treatment of mental disorders should consider information needs of people with a low SES.

Keywords

Mental health literacy Socioeconomic status Depression Schizophrenia Eating disorder 

References

  1. 1.
    Angermeyer MC, Dietrich S (2006) Public beliefs about and attitudes towards people with mental illness: a review of population studies. Acta Psychiatr Scand 113:163–179PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Pescosolido BA, Martin JK, Long JS, Medina TR, Phelan JC, Link BG (2010) “A disease like any other”? A decade of change in public reactions to schizophrenia, depression, and alcohol dependence. Am J Psychiatry 167:1321–1330PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Schomerus G, Schwahn C, Holzinger A, Corrigan PW, Grabe HJ, Carta HG et al (2012) Evolution of public attitudes about mental illness: a systematic review and meta-analyses. Acta Psychiatr Scand 125:440–452PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Lynch J, Kaplan G (2000) Socioeconomic position. In: Berkman LF, Kawachi I (eds) Social epidemiology. University Press, Oxford, pp 13–35Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Jorm AF (2000) Mental health literacy: public knowledge and beliefs about mental disorders. Br J Psychiatry 177:396–401PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Lauber C, Falcato L, Nordt C, Rössler W (2003) Lay beliefs about causes of depression. Acta Psychiatr Scand 108:96–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Jorm AF, Korten AE, Jacomb PA, Christensen H, Rodgers B, Pollitt P (1997) Public beliefs about causes and risk factors for depression and schizophrenia. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 32:143–148PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Angermeyer MC, Matschinger H (1999) Lay beliefs about mental disorders: a comparison between the western and the eastern part of Germany. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 34:275–281PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Mond JM, Hay PJ (2008) Public perceptions of binge eating and its treatment. Int J Eat Disord 41:419–426PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Darby AM, Hay PJ, Mond JM, Quirck F (2012) Community recognition and beliefs about anorexia nervosa and its treatment. Int J Eat Disord 45:120–124PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Geyer S, Hemström Ö, Peter R, Vågerö D (2006) Education, income and occupational class cannot be used interchangeably in social epidemiology. Empirical evidence against an unquestioned practice. J Epidemiol Community Health 60:804–810PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Schomerus G, Matschinger H, Angermeyer MC (2009) The stigma of psychiatric treatment and help-seeking intentions for depression. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 259:298–306PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hegerl U, Althaus D, Stefanek J (2003) Public attitudes towards treatment of depression: effects of an information campaign. Pharmacopsychiatry 36:288–291PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Lauber C, Nordt C, Rössler W (2005) Recommendations of mental health professionals and the general population on how to treat mental disorders. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 40:835–843PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Atkinson AB, Rainwater L, Smeeding TM (1995) Income distribution in OECD Countries, OECD Social Policy Studies, No. 18, ParisGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Bromet E, Andrade LH, Hwang I, Sampson NA, Alonso J, de Girolamo G et al (2011) Cross-national epidemiology of DSM-IV major depressive episode. BMC Med 9:90PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Robert Koch-Institut (2010a) Gesundheitsberichterstattung des Bundes. Heft 51: depression. RKI/Destatis, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Robert Koch-Institut (2010b) Gesundheitsberichterstattung des Bundes. Heft 50: Schizophrenie. RKI/Destatis, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Herpertz S, de Zwaan M, Zipfel S (2008) Handbuch Essstörungen und Adipositas. Springer, HeidelbergCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Angermeyer MC, Matschinger H (2003) The stigma of mental illness: effects labelling on public attitudes towards people with mental disorder. Acta Psychiatr Scand 108:304–309PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Schlinzig T, Schneiderat G (2009) Möglichkeiten zur Erhöhung der Teilnahmebereitschaft bei Telefonumfragen über Festnetz und Mobilfunk. In: Bacher J, Wolf C, Weichbold M (eds) Umfrageforschung. Herausforderungen und Grenzen, Wiesbaden, pp 21–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olaf von dem Knesebeck
    • 1
  • Eva Mnich
    • 1
  • Anne Daubmann
    • 2
  • Karl Wegscheider
    • 2
  • Matthias C. Angermeyer
    • 3
  • Martin Lambert
    • 4
  • Anne Karow
    • 4
  • Martin Härter
    • 5
  • Christopher Kofahl
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical Sociology and Health EconomicsUniversity Medical Center Hamburg EppendorfHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Medical Biometry and EpidemiologyUniversity Medical Center Hamburg EppendorfHamburgGermany
  3. 3.Centre for Public Mental HealthGösing am WagramAustria
  4. 4.Psychosis Centre, Department of Psychiatry and PsychotherapyUniversity Medical Center Hamburg EppendorfHamburgGermany
  5. 5.Department of Medical PsychologyUniversity Medical Center Hamburg EppendorfHamburgGermany

Personalised recommendations