Background: Recent literature reports a reduced l\ife expectancy in patients with severe mental illness. We have investigated health behaviour, quality of life, and sociodemographic variables of people with psychopharmacological treatment using data from the most recent Austrian Health Survey.
Methods: Quality of life (the World Health Organization quality of life, abbreviated version) questionnaires and items from the European Health Interview Survey were used in assessing health status and health behaviour of 15,474 people living in Austria. From this sample, 882 individuals (5.7%) under psychopharmacological treatment were compared with respondents without mental illness.
Results: We found significant differences in health behaviour (reduced physical activity, more smoking) and sociodemographic data (age, gender, education, income) between people treated for mental illness and respondents without psychopharmacological treatment. Correspondingly, more somatic illness and reduced quality of life were found in the former group.
Conclusion: These data stress the necessity of health intervention and antipoverty programmes taking social and somatic issues for people with moderate mental health problems into account.
Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.