The need for psychiatric care in England: a spatial factor methodology

  • Peter CongdonEmail author
Original Article


To ensure health resources are equitably distributed, composite indices of population morbidity or “health need” are often used. Measures of the dimensions of population morbidity (e.g. socioeconomic deprivation) relevant to health need are typically not directly available but indirectly measured through census or other sources. This paper considers measurement of latent population morbidity constructs using both health outcomes (e.g. hospital admissions, mortality) and observed area social and demographic indicators (e.g. census data). The constructs are allowed to be spatially correlated between areas, as well as correlated with one another within areas. The health outcomes may depend both on the latent constructs and on other relevant covariates (e.g. bed supply), with some covariates possibly measured only at higher (regional) scales. A case study considers variations in psychiatric admissions in 354 English local authority areas in relation to two latent constructs: area deprivation and social fragmentation.


Health need Latent constructs Spatial Mental illness Deprivation Fragmentation Bayesian 

JEL Classification

I10 I18 C11 C21 C51 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyQueen Mary University of LondonLondonUK

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