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Am J Prev Med. 2017 Sep;53(3S1):S30-S39. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2017.04.023.

Mental Health Problems and Cancer Risk Factors Among Young Adults.

Author information

1
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia. Electronic address: gmassetti@cdc.gov.
2
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Chronic mental health problems often emerge in young adulthood, when adults begin to develop lifelong health behaviors and access preventive health services. The associations between mental health problems and modifiable cancer risk factors in young adulthood are not well understood.

METHODS:

In 2016, the authors analyzed 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data on demographic characteristics, health service access and use, health status, and cancer risk factors (tobacco use, alcohol use, overweight or obesity, physical activity, and sleep) for 90,821 young adults aged 18-39 years with mental health problems (depressive disorder or frequent mental distress) compared to other young adults.

RESULTS:

Mental health problems were associated with white race; less than a high school education; lower income; being out of work or unable to work; being uninsured (for men only); poor health; previous diagnosis of asthma, skin cancer, or diabetes; and not having a recent checkup. After controlling for demographic characteristics, health service use, and health status, mental health problems among young adults were associated with smoking, binge drinking, inadequate sleep, having no leisure time physical activity, and being overweight or obese (among women only). Cervical cancer screening was not associated with mental health problems after controlling for demographic characteristics, health service use, and health status.

CONCLUSIONS:

Mental health problems in young adulthood were associated with potentially modifiable factors and behaviors that increase risk for cancer. Efforts to prevent cancer and promote health must attend to mental health disparities to meet the needs of young adults.

PMID:
28818243
PMCID:
PMC5584599
[Available on 2018-09-01]
DOI:
10.1016/j.amepre.2017.04.023
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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