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Country specific associations between social contact and mental health: evidence from civil servant studies across Great Britain, Japan and Finland

Cable, N; Chandola, T; Lallukka, T; Sekine, M; Lahelma, E; Tatsuse, T; Marmot, MG; (2016) Country specific associations between social contact and mental health: evidence from civil servant studies across Great Britain, Japan and Finland. Public Health , 137 pp. 139-146. 10.1016/j.puhe.2015.10.013. Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Little is known about which component, such as social contact of social networks is associated with mental health or whether such an association can be observed across countries. This study examined whether the association between frequent social contact and mental health differs by composition (relatives or friends) and whether the associations are similar across three occupational cohorts from Great Britain, Japan, and Finland. STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis of data from three prospective cohort studies. METHODS: Participants were civil servants of a prospective cohort study based in London (Men: n = 4519; Women: n = 1756), in the West Coast of Japan (Men: n = 2571; Women: n = 1102), and in Helsinki, Finland (Men: n = 1181; Women: n = 5633); we included the information on study variables which is complete. Mental health function was the study outcome, indicated by the total score from the Mental Health Component on the Short Form Health Survey36. Participants reported frequencies of contacts with their relatives or friends via a questionnaire. Age, marital status, and occupational position were treated as confounders in this study. RESULTS: Findings from multiple regression showed that the associations between social contact and mental health function were different depending on country of origin and gender. Among British or Japanese men, frequent contact with both friends and relatives was positively associated with their mental health function, while only social contact with friends was significantly associated with mental health of Finnish men. In women, the patterns of the associations between social contact and mental health were more distinctive: friends for Great Britain, relatives for Japan, and friends and relatives for Finland. These significant associations were independent of the confounders. CONCLUSIONS: Social contact was related to mental health of working people; however, culture and gender are likely to be tapped into.

Type: Article
Title: Country specific associations between social contact and mental health: evidence from civil servant studies across Great Britain, Japan and Finland
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2015.10.013
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.puhe.2015.10.013
Language: English
Additional information: © 2015 The Royal Society for Public Health. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. This manuscript version is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Non-derivative 4.0 International license (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). This license allows you to share, copy, distribute and transmit the work for personal and non-commercial use providing author and publisher attribution is clearly stated. Further details about CC BY licenses are available at http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/4.0. Access may be initially restricted by the publisher.
Keywords: Cross-national comparisons, Mental health, Occupational cohort, Social contact
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1480261
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