Determinants of Mental Health Disorder Among Adults in Malaysia

  • Yong Kang Cheah
  • Mohd Azahadi Omar
  • Siew Nooi Phang
  • Noor Hazilah Abd Manaf
Conference paper


Mental health disorder (MHD) is a serious public health concern, as it is responsible for a large proportion of global disease burden. MHD is defined as a serious mental health condition that affects mood, thinking and behaviour. The objective of this study is to examine the sociodemographic, lifestyle and health factors associated with MHD. From the economic point of view, MHD is a health disinvestment as it has negative effects on health. Hence, we expect that sociodemographic, lifestyle and health factors can affect MHD. Based on a nationally representative data, we develop a logit model to estimate the probability of acquiring MHD. Our findings show that age, gender, ethnicity, education, marital status and self-rated health are significantly associated with MHD. Specifically, age and being male are negatively related to the likelihood of having MHD. Compared to Malays/Chinese and well-educated individuals, Indians/others and less-educated individuals are more likely to have MHD. In terms of marital status, married individuals display lower odds of acquiring MHD than their unmarried counterparts. It is also interesting to find that individuals who self-rate their health as good or fair have a lower tendency to develop MHD compared to their counterparts who self-rate their health as poor. In light of these findings, several policies directed towards reducing the prevalence of MHD are suggested.


Age Anxiety Depression Gender Health Mental 



The authors would like to thank the Director General of Health, Malaysia, for his permission to use the data from the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2011 and to publish this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yong Kang Cheah
    • 1
  • Mohd Azahadi Omar
    • 2
  • Siew Nooi Phang
    • 3
  • Noor Hazilah Abd Manaf
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Economics, Finance and Banking, College of BusinessUniversiti Utara MalaysiaSintokMalaysia
  2. 2.Centre for Burden of Disease Research, Institute for Public HealthMinistry of Health MalaysiaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  3. 3.School of Government, College of Law, Government and International StudiesUniversiti Utara MalaysiaSintokMalaysia
  4. 4.Department of Business Administration, Faculty of Economics and Management SciencesInternational Islamic University MalaysiaKuala LumpurMalaysia

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