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Psychological distress, neuroticism, and cause-specific mortality: early prospective evidence from UK Biobank

Batty, GD; McIntosh, AM; Russ, TC; Deary, IJ; Gale, CR; (2016) Psychological distress, neuroticism, and cause-specific mortality: early prospective evidence from UK Biobank. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health , 70 (11) pp. 1136-1139. 10.1136/jech-2016-207267. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: It is well established that psychological distress (depression and anxiety) is related to an increased risk of mortality. The personality trait of neuroticism, reflecting a relatively stable tendency towards negative emotions, has also been associated with elevated rates of death in some studies. Accordingly, we tested the possibility that it is the neuroticism trait itself, rather than the distress state, that is generating an increased risk of mortality. METHODS: We used data from the UK Biobank study, a UK-wide prospective cohort study (2006–2010) in which distress was ascertained using the Patient Health Questionnaire and neuroticism using the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire-Revised Short Form. RESULTS: A mean of 6.2 years of follow-up of 308 721 study members gave rise to 4334 deaths. Higher neuroticism was weakly associated with total mortality (age-adjusted and sex-adjusted HR per SD increase; 95% CI 1.05; 1.02 to 1.09), and moderately strongly correlated with distress symptoms (r=0.55, p<0.0001). Distress symptoms were positively related to risk of total mortality (age-adjusted and sex-adjusted HR per SD increase in distress; 95% CI 1.23; 1.20 to 1.26). This gradient was, in fact, slightly strengthened after adding neuroticism to the multivariable model (1.30; 1.26 to 1.34) but markedly attenuated after taking into account other covariates which included health behaviours and somatic disease (1.16; 1.12 to 1.20). Similar results were apparent when cardiovascular disease, cancer and external cause of death were the end points of interest. CONCLUSIONS: While there was good a priori reasons to anticipate the neuroticism would at least partially explain the relation between distress symptoms and cause-specific mortality, we found no such evidence in the present study.

Type: Article
Title: Psychological distress, neuroticism, and cause-specific mortality: early prospective evidence from UK Biobank
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/jech-2016-207267
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jech-2016-207267
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Public, Environmental & Occupational Health, Pooled Analysis, Cohort, Depression, Disease, Risk, Stroke, Trial
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/1508643
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