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J Abnorm Psychol. 2017 Feb;126(2):212-224. doi: 10.1037/abn0000232. Epub 2016 Dec 1.

Enduring mental health: Prevalence and prediction.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University.
2
Social Science Research Institute, Duke University.
3
Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Otago.
4
Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
5
Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit, Department of Psychology, University of Otago.

Abstract

We review epidemiological evidence indicating that most people will develop a diagnosable mental disorder, suggesting that only a minority experience enduring mental health. This minority has received little empirical study, leaving the prevalence and predictors of enduring mental health unknown. We turn to the population-representative Dunedin cohort, followed from birth to midlife, to compare people never-diagnosed with mental disorder (N = 171; 17% prevalence) to those diagnosed at 1-2 study waves, the cohort mode (N = 409). Surprisingly, compared to this modal group, never-diagnosed Study members were not born into unusually well-to-do families, nor did their enduring mental health follow markedly sound physical health, or unusually high intelligence. Instead, they tended to have an advantageous temperament/personality style, and negligible family history of mental disorder. As adults, they report superior educational and occupational attainment, greater life satisfaction, and higher-quality relationships. Our findings draw attention to "enduring mental health" as a revealing psychological phenotype and suggest it deserves further study. (PsycINFO Database Record.

PMID:
27929304
PMCID:
PMC5304549
DOI:
10.1037/abn0000232
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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