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Unhealthy Behaviors Linked to Poor Mental Health

A new study disclosed that low-income adults suffering from depression, stress and anxiety turn to health-compromising behaviors such as smoking, use of illegal drugs, binge drinking, poor diet and unprotected sex, and not the other way around.

Dr. Jennifer Walsh and colleagues from Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine at The Miriam Hospital in the US conducted the study, which was published online in the Springer journal, Translational Behavioral Medicine.

The study involved 482 patients of a sexually transmitted infection clinic who were interviewed online and every three months thereafter for one year to assess a number of health-compromising behaviors and measure the levels of depression, anxiety and perceived stress.

Findings showed a common behavior among the participants like unprotected sex, smoking, binge drinking, illegal drug use, lack of or excessive sleep and poor diet.  Participants from the low-income bracket have a higher number of health-compromising behaviors and symptoms of anxiety and depression as well as higher level of stress versus participants from the higher income bracket.

The authors have gathered as well that symptoms of anxiety, depression and perceived stress led to unhealthy behaviors taking into account earlier behaviors and socioeconomic status. Conversely, the unhealthy behaviors did not result to poor mental health.  The study therefore confirms that poor mental health leads to unhealthy behaviors particularly in adults with low income.

In this regard, the authors propose to target the mental health of patients. Referring them for mental health counseling or techniques in reducing stress may help promote or improve health behaviors.


Springer Science+Business Media. Poor mental health leads to unhealthy behaviors among low-income adults. ScienceDaily.


Posted in: Lifestyle, Mental Health, News Briefs

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