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Soc Sci Med. 1990;31(5):527-36.

Psychological distress and mortality: evidence from the Alameda County Study.

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University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston 77225.


The relationship between psychological distress, in this case depression, and subsequent risk of mortality is examined using data from the Alameda County (California) Study, an 18-yr, three-wave prospective investigation of psychosocial risk factors and health. The results indicate no relationship between psychological morbidity and all-cause mortality or specific causes of death. While these results are discordant with those reported from a majority of studies of psychiatric patients, they are concordant with a majority of community-based studies of the general adult population. Possible methodologic explanations are discussed which might account for disparate results reported to date, in particular failure to control for the effects of co-morbidity of somatic disorders and socioeconomic status.

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