Mental disorders are a major cause of disability with impacts on daily functioning and quality of life, which has been associated with socioeconomic disadvantage. The present study aims to assess how socioeconomic position is related to the disability reported by people with mental disorders, using data from the World Mental Health Survey (WMHS) Initiative Portugal.
Using data from the Portuguese Mental Health Survey, a nationally representative cross-sectional study (n = 3849), several logistic regression models with interaction terms were performed to evaluate the effect of different indicators of socioeconomic position on the disability reported by people with any mental disorder (any 12-month mood or anxiety disorder). Odds ratios were estimated at the specific values of the main effects and interaction terms between the presence of any mental disorder and education, employment status, self-perceived financial deprivation and subjective social status.
The prevalence rate of any mood or anxiety disorder was 21.0% (n = 788), among which 14.7% (n = 115) reported disability. The results show that among people with any 12-month mental disorder, those in the employment category of "retired or others" had two times higher odds of reporting disability (OR = 2.19; 95%CI: 1.06-4.48) when compared to participants categorized as "working". Likewise, individuals with financial deprivation had two times higher odds of reporting disability when compared to those non-financially deprived (OR = 2.36; 95%CI: 1.31-4.24). The odds ratios obtained for the specific years of education evaluated were not statistically significant but seem to suggest an educational gradient.
The findings of this study indicate that the disability reported by people with mental disorders varies according to socioeconomic position and draw attention to the need to develop policies to address these inequalities.