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Health Rep. 2010 Sep;21(3):61-75.

Validation of self-rated mental health.

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Mental Health Commission of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, K1Z 7K4.



This article assesses the association between self-rated mental health and selected World Mental Health-Composite International Diagnostic Interview (WMH-CIDI)-measured disorders, self-reported diagnoses of mental disorders, and psychological distress in the Canadian population.


Data are from the 2002 Canadian Community Health Survey: Mental Health and Well-being. Weighted frequencies and cross-tabulations were used to estimate the prevalence of each mental morbidity measure and self-rated mental health by selected characteristics. Mean self-rated mental health scores were calculated for each mental morbidity measure. The association between self-rated mental health and each mental morbidity measure was analysed with logistic regression models.


In 2002, an estimated 1.7 million Canadians aged 15 or older (7%) rated their mental health as fair or poor. Respondents classified with mental morbidity consistently reported lower mean self-rated mental health (SRMH) and had significantly higher odds of reporting fair/poor mental health than did those not classified with mental morbidity. Gradients in mean SRMH scores and odds of reporting fair/poor mental health by recency of WMH-CIDI-measured mental disorders were apparent. A sizeable percentage of respondents classified as having a mental morbidity did not perceive their mental health as fair/poor.


Although self-rated mental health is not a substitute for specific mental health measures it is potentially useful for monitoring general mental health.

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