Depression and socio-economic risk factors: 7-Year longitudinal population study
Background: Low socio-economic status is associated with a higher prevalence of depression, but it is not yet known whether change in socio-economic status leads to a change in rates of depression. Aims: To assess whether longitudinal change in socio-economic factors affects change of depression level. Method: In a prospective cohort study using the annual Belgian Household Panel Survey (1992-1999), depression was assessed using the Global Depression Scale. Socio-economic factors were assessed with regard to material standard of living, education, employment status and social relationships. Results: A lowering in material standard of living between annual waves was associated with increases in depressive symptoms and caseness of major depression. Life circumstances also influenced depression. Ceasing to cohabit with a partner increased depressive symptoms and caseness, and improvement in circumstances reduced them; the negative effects were stronger than the positive ones. Conclusions: The study showed a clear relationship between worsening socioeconomic circumstances and depression.