Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 50, Issue 5, pp 597–603 | Cite as

Factors Influencing Report of Common Mental Health Problems Among Psychologically Distressed Adults

  • Myriam Khlat
  • Stéphane Legleye
  • Catherine Sermet
Original Paper


This study investigates the sociodemographic factors associated with self-report of common mental problems by the psychologically distressed in order to gain insight into the profile of the population subgroups least likely to receive mental health support whenever needed. Data from the 2006–2008 french National Survey on Health, Health Care and Insurance, were used, measuring psychological distress based on the Mental Health Inventory MHI-5. The patterns associated with education, employment situation and living arrangement were investigated in a sample of 11,543 subjects aged 30–54 years. Men with lower educational level were found to be doubly disadvantaged, as they were more subjected to distress than those with higher educational level and at the same time less likely to report common mental problems whenever distressed. While in both genders subjects not living with a spouse and non-employed subjects were also more subjected to distress, they were more likely than the others to report common mental problems in presence of distress. The findings were discussed in terms of living conditions, stigma, mental health literacy and help-seeking behaviour. Mental health promotion programmes should aim at educating the public, and particularly men and the lower educated public, on the signs of distress and their significance.


Depression Anxiety Common mental disorders Social inequalities Help-seeking 



The authors are grateful to Mr. Vincent Lasserre-Bigorry for preliminary data analysis. The “Health, Health Care and Insurance Survey” (ESPS) was supported by the Caisse nationale d’Assurance Maladie des Travailleurs Salariés (CNAMTS), the Régime Social des Indépendants (RSI), the Mutualité Sociale Agricole (MSA), the Direction de la Recherche, des Etudes, de l’Evaluation et des Statistiques (DREES) and the Institut de Veille Sanitaire (InVS).

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical statement

Ethical approval was granted by the Commission Nationale Informatique et Libertés (CNIL).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Myriam Khlat
    • 1
  • Stéphane Legleye
    • 1
    • 2
  • Catherine Sermet
    • 3
  1. 1.Institut National d’Etudes Démographiques (INED)ParisFrance
  2. 2.Inserm, U669, UMR-S0669Univ Paris-Sud and Univ Paris DescartesParisFrance
  3. 3.Institut de Recherche et Documentation en Economie de la Santé (IRDES)ParisFrance

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