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Psychol Med. 1991 Feb;21(1):157-67.

Social factors and minor psychiatric disorder in middle-aged men: a validation study and a population survey.

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Academic Department of Psychiatry, University College, London.


A cross-sectional survey of minor psychiatric disorder is reported in a representative community sample of 2204 men between the ages of 45 years and 64 years living in Caerphilly, South Wales. Minor psychiatric disorder was measured by the 30-item General Health Questionnaire and validated by the Clinical Interview Schedule in a consecutive sample of 97 men, weighted to provide one-third cases, two-thirds non-cases. A case threshold of 4/5 on the General Health Questionnaire was chosen on the basis of 'ROC' analysis. An overall estimated 'true' prevalence rate for minor psychiatric disorder of 22.0% was found, with 22.3% of men scoring 5 or more on the General Health Questionnaire. Rates of minor psychiatric disorder were higher in widowed and divorced men than in married men but were also, unexpectedly, lower in single as opposed to married men. There was no social-class gradient in minor psychiatric morbidity but a lower rate in Social Class III NM may be largely explained by lower unemployment rates. There were markedly higher rates of minor psychiatric morbidity in unemployed men and those who retired ill. Men with no available social contacts had higher rates of morbidity than men with some or high social contacts.

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