Employment status and income as potential mediators of educational inequalities in population mental health

Eur J Public Health. 2016 Oct;26(5):814-816. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckw126. Epub 2016 Sep 4.


We assessed whether educational inequalities in mental health may be mediated by employment status and household income. Poor mental health was assessed using General Health Questionnaire 'caseness' in working age adult participants (N = 48 654) of the Health Survey for England (2001-10). Relative indices of inequality by education level were calculated. Substantial inequalities were apparent, with adjustment for employment status and household income markedly reducing their magnitude. Educational inequalities in mental health were attenuated by employment status. Policy responses to economic recession (such as active labour market interventions) might reduce mental health inequalities but longitudinal research is needed to exclude reverse causation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Educational Status*
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data*
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Income / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged