Groundbreaking study co-authored by MRC research fellow identifies causal links between poverty and mental illness

A new paper has uncovered compelling evidence that poverty and mental illness are not only correlated but also causally linked.

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This pioneering study, conducted as part of an international collaboration between the University of Utrecht, The University of Edinburgh, and University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, shows that while certain mental health issues can hinder financial stability, poverty is also one of the causal factors leading to mental health problems.

Using data from the UK Biobank and the Psychiatric Genomic Consortium, the researchers examined the genetic distribution of poverty among healthy and mentally ill individuals. They found that schizophrenia and ADHD causally contribute to poverty, whereas poverty contributes to major depressive disorder and schizophrenia.

The study examined three indicators of poverty, household income, occupational income, and social deprivation. Furthermore, it was able to examine the effects that were common across each of these indicators in order to derive a common poverty factor, capturing aspects of poverty shared between the individual, the household, and the area in which one lives.

Our research demonstrates the value that genetic data provides though its use as a tool to identify modifiable environmental risk factors that influence mental health.”

Dr. David Hill, University of Edinburgh

You can read the paper and a detailed FAQ, by following the link below.

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