Age and Mental Health

Standard

Does mental health improve with age?

That’s the thesis of an article in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (1) suggesting that might be the case.  The argument is based on a survey of 1546 people between the ages of 21 and 100.

The thesis is based on two errors in design and analysis of data:

  • A single survey conducted at a single point in time can never establish any form of causality.  You need to follow a group of people over time to establish trends and what might underlie them.
  • The alternative hypothesis is that people who are mentally healthy live longer than do others.  The data in the study is consistent with that theory.  In fact, by virtue of the fact that the mentally healthy are less likely commit suicide, by definition, they live longer.

There are several questions that the article does not address that could be of vital importance:

(1) Does good mental health assist in the survival of diseases such as cancer and heart disease?  There is some evidence that could be the case.  There are articles on the relationship between psychological stress and cancer in both 2004 and 2012 (WebMD and NIH).  The National Cancer Institute concludes that there is no clear evidence that successful management of stress improves cancer outcomes.  However, the article  goes on to report that depression may be linked to fatal outcomes (2).  There was also a report of a study at Indiana University suggesting that depression and bipolar disorder could be linked to an increased risk of certain cancers at younger ages (3).

(2) What is the relationship between financial security and mental health?  We know three things about the US:

  • Medicare and Social Security no longer provide adequate safety nets for the elderly.  The average Social Security payment per month is $1,346.59 (4), which is less than poverty level.  Further, basic Medicare excludes doctors and prescriptions, requiring those who can afford it to purchase Medicare supplements or Medicare Advantage plans.
  • There is a correlation between income and life expectancy in the US.  Males with low incomes have a life expectance of 74 years.  Affluent males and females have a life expectancy of 88 years.  The US is the only industrialized country in which this extreme disparity based on wealth exists.
  • There is a documented link between financial problems and depression (5).

Basically, the US Congress has redefined the promise of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as being rights only of the wealthy.

 


Sources:

(1) Thomas, Michael L., et. al., “Paradoxical Trend for Improvement in Mental Health With Aging: A Community-Based Study of 1,546 Adults Aged 21–100 Years,” Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 2016;77(8):e1019–e1025 10.4088/JCP.16m10671

(2) National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, “Psychological Stress and Cancer,”  http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coping/feelings/stress-fact-sheet

(3) Davis, Jeannie, “Mental Health Linked to Cancer Risk,” WebMD, 6 Oct 2004, http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20041006/mental-health-linked-to-cancer-risk

(4) Social Security Administration, Monthly Statistics, July 2016 https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/quickfacts/stat_snapshot/

(5) Renter, Elizabeth, “The Dark Link Between Financial Stress and Depression,” US News and World Reports, 25 February 2015.  http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2015/02/25/the-dark-link-between-financial-stress-and-depression

 

 

Advertisements

17 thoughts on “Age and Mental Health

  1. I haven’t read that study, but it also would have to somehow refute the fact that as life expectancy has risen, so have the rates of diagnosed dementias. All tissue, including brain tissue, has a sell-by date. If you survive to age 90, your chance of developing dementia is better than 15%. The rate rises rapidly with each year of survival past 80.

    Like

    • Good point. The author of the original article used a simple measure of association without considering any confounding factors. Mathematically, the problem with their analysis is simple. Say we create a “mental health scale”, and we have 10 people with MH ratings of 8, 8, 7, 7, 6, 6, 5, 5, 4 and 4. The average rating is 6. Now suppose that the bottom 5 die and the MH ratings for the top 5 all drop by 1 point. The average will be 6.2. The average has increased but all survivors have declines in their mental health score. A cross-sectional (single point in time) study cannot address what’s really happening in a population.

      Like

  2. Jack

    I will right away grab your rss feed as I can’t to find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service.
    Do you have any? Please permit me recognize in order that I could subscribe.
    Thanks.

    Like

  3. I have been browsing online more than 2 hours today, yet I never found any iinteresting artucle like yours.
    It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all website owwners and bloggers
    made good content as you did, the net will be much more
    useful than evver before.|
    I could not resist commenting. Exceptionally ell written!|
    I’ll immediately take hold of your rss as I can not in finding your email subscription hyperlnk or newsletter service.
    Do you have any? Kindly allow me recognise so that
    I could subscribe. Thanks.|
    It iss appropriate time to makke some plans for thee future and it is time
    to be happy. I’ve rsad this post and if I could I want to suggest you few interesting things or advice.
    Maybee you could write next articles referring to this
    article. I want to read even more things about it!|
    It’s the best time to make some plans foor the log run and it
    iis time to be happy. I’ve learn this post and if I may just I want tto suggest you
    some attention-grabbing things or tips. Maybe you could write subsequent articles referring to this article.
    I wish to learn more things about it!|
    I’ve been browsing online greter thuan 3 hours as of late, but I never discovered any attention-grabbing article like yours.

    It is pretty price sufficirnt for me. In mmy view,
    iif all website owners and bloggers made good content material
    ass you did, the net will be a lot more helpful than ever before.|
    Ahaa, its fastidious conversation about this post at this place at this weblog, I have read all that, so at this time me also commenting here.|
    I am sure this post has touched all the internbet users, its
    really really fastidious paragraph on building up
    neww website.|
    Wow, tjis article is pleasant, my younger sister is analyzing such things, therefore I
    am going to convey her.|
    Saved as a favorite, I really like your site!|
    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate
    you penning this post and the rest of the site iss also very good.|
    Hi, I ddo think this is a great site. I stumbledrupon it
    😉 I am going to revisit once again since i have book marked
    it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you
    be rich and continue to giide others.|
    Woah! I’m realoy dugging the template/theme of this blog.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of ties it’s very difficult
    to get that “perfect balance” between usability andd appearance.
    I must say you have done a awesome job with this. In addition, the blog loads extremely quick for me onn Firefox.
    Exceptional Blog!|
    These are actually great ideas in concerning blogging. Youu
    have touched some good points here. Any way keep upp wrinting.|
    Everyone loves what you guys are usually up too. This kiknd of clever work
    and coverage! Keep up the great works guys I’ve included you
    guys to blogroll.|
    Hello! Someone in my Myspace group shaed thiss website with uus so I cam
    to look it over. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m book-marking and will be
    tweeting this too my followers! Superb blog andd brilliant style and design.|
    I love what you guys aare usually up too. This type of clever
    work andd exposure! Keep up the good works guys I’ve incorporrated you guys to my own blogroll.|
    Hello would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using?
    I’m going tto start myy own blog soon butt I’m having a
    tough time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is becaue your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique.
    P.S Sorry foor gegting off-topic but I had tto ask!|
    Hi there would you mind lettig me know which hosting compaany you’re utilizing?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 compldtely different internet browsers aand I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most.
    Can you recommend a good internet hosting provider at a fair price?

    Thanks a lot, I appreciate it!|
    I really like it when people get together and share views.

    Great website, keep it up!|
    Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a
    amusement account it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you!
    However, how could we communicate?|
    Hell just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
    The words inn your ardticle seem tto be
    runninng off the screen in Firefox. I’m not sure if this
    is a formatting issue orr something to ddo with
    browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let
    you know. The layoit look great though! Hope you get tthe issue solved soon. Many thanks|
    This is a topic that is close to my heart… Thank you!

    Where aare your contact details though?|
    It’s very trouble-free tto find out any mater on net as compared to textbooks, aas Ifound this post at this web site.|
    Does your website have a contact page? I’m having trouble
    locating it but, I’d like to send yyou an email.
    I’ve got soime suggestions for your blog you might be interesged in hearing.
    Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it
    expanjd over time.|
    Hey there! I’ve been reading your site for a long time noow andd finally ggot the
    bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Huffman Texas!
    Just wanted too say keep up the great work!|
    Greetings from Colorado! I’m bored to tears at
    work so I decided too check out your site on my iphone during lunch break.
    I really like the knowledge you present here and can’t
    wait to take a look when I gett home. I’m amazed att how fast your blog loaded on my cell
    phuone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow,
    great blog!|
    Itss such as you read mmy thoughts! You appear to understand so
    much ablut this, such as you wrote the book in it or something.
    I believge that you just could do with a few p.c. to pressure the
    messagye home a bit, but instead of that, this is excellent blog.
    A great read. I will certainly be back.|
    I visited multiple blogs however the audio quality for audio songs present at this web
    page is atually marvelous.|
    Howdy, i rea your blog occasionally annd i own a siumilar one and i was just wondering
    iif you get a lot oof spam comments? If so hhow do you stop it, any plugin or anything you can suggest?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy soo anyy suport is very much appreciated.|
    Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post!

    It’s the little changes which woll make the biggest changes.
    Thanks for sharing!|
    I really love your site.. Verry nice colors & theme.
    Didd you build this amazing site yourself? Please reply bac as
    I’m looking to create myy very own blog and want to find
    out where you got this from or just what the theme is named.

    Many thanks!|
    Howdy! This post couldn’t be written any better!
    Going through this post reminds me oof my previous roommate!
    He constantly kept talking about this. I am goikng to send this article to
    him. Pretty sure he will have a great read. Thanks for
    sharing!|
    Whoa! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s onn a entirely
    different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Wonderful choice of colors!|
    There is definately a great deal to leafn about this subject.
    I really like all of the points you made.|
    You’ve made some good points there. I checked on the net for additional information about
    the issue and found mopst individuals will go along with your views on this site.|
    Hi there, I read your blog lioke every week. Your humorijstic style is witty,
    kewep it up!|
    Isimply couldn’t depart your site prior to suggesting that I really loved the
    usual info an individual supply inn your guests?
    Is going to be back often to investigate cross-check new posts|
    Iwant to to thank you for this excellent read!!

    I definitely loved every little bitt of it.
    I’ve got you book marked to check out new things you post…|
    Hi, just wanted to mention, I liked this article. It waas inspiring.
    Keep on posting!|
    Hi there, I enjoy reading all of your article post.
    I likee to write a little comment too support
    you.|
    I every tie spent my half an hour to rewd this website’s content all the time along with a cup of coffee.|
    I all the time emailed this website post page tto all myy friends, since if like to read it nedxt myy contacts will too.|
    My devveloper iis trying to convince mee to move tto .net from PHP.
    I have always disliked the idea because of the costs.
    But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using
    WordPress on various websites for about a ysar and am worried about switching to another platform.
    I have hard excellent things about blogengine.net. Is there a
    way I can import all my wordpress posts into it?

    Any help would bee greatly appreciated!|
    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this web site before
    but after going through many of tthe posts I reazlized it’s new
    to me. Regardless, I’m definitely delighted I discovered it and I’ll
    be bookmarking it and checking back regularly!|
    Wonderful work! That is the type of info that should be shared around the net.
    Disgrace on the search engines for no longger positioning this publish higher!
    Come on over and consult with my website . Thank you =)|
    Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across tjis board and I find It truly useful
    & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and aid others like
    you helped me.|
    Hello, There’s no doubt that your blog might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in Internet Explorer, it’s got
    some overlapping issues. I merely wanted tto provide you with a
    quick heads up! Besides that, fantastic website!|
    A person essentially lend a hand to make seriously articles I might
    state. This is the very first timje I frequented your website page and thus far?

    I surprised witth the analysis you made to create
    this actual post incredible. Magnificent task!|
    Heya i am for the first time here.I found this board and I inn
    finding It really useful & it helped me out much.
    I’m hoping to give something back and aid others such
    as yoou helped me.|
    Hi! I just wish to offer you a big thumbs uup for your excellent
    info you have here on this post. I’ll be returning
    to your site foor more soon.|
    I all the time used to read paraagraph iin news papers but now as I am a user of
    internet so from now I am using net for articles, thanks to web.|
    Your means of telling the whole thing in this article
    is really nice, every one can without difficulty know it,
    Thanks a lot.|
    Hi there, I discovered your site by the use of Gogle at the
    same time as looking for a similar matter, your website came up, it looks good.
    I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.
    Hello there, simply become aware of yoir weblog via Google,
    and folund that it is truly informative. I am gonna be careful for brussels.
    I’ll be grateful in the eent yyou proceed this in future.

    Numerous other people will likely be benefited out off your
    writing. Cheers!|
    I’m curious too find out what blog system you happen to be utilizing?

    I’m experiencing some small security issues
    with my lateest site and I’d like to find something more safe.

    Do you have any solutions?|
    I aam really impressed with your writing skills as well as with tthe layout on your weblog.
    Is this a paid thewme or did you modify it yourself?
    Eirher way keep upp the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays.|
    I am really inapired along with your writin talents as smartly as
    with the structure for yojr weblog. Is that this a paid subject or did you customize it yourself?
    Anyway stay up the excellent high quality writing, it is uncommon to look a great blog like this one nowadays..|
    Hello, Neat post. There is a problem with your web site
    in web explorer, might test this? IE onetheless is the
    market chief and a huge section off people will pass over your wonderful
    writing due too this problem.|
    I’m not sure where you are getting your info, but good topic.
    I needs to spend some time learnning more or understanding more.
    Thanks for wonderful info I was looking for this information for my mission.|
    Hello, i think that i saw you visited my weblog soo i came to
    “return the favor”.I am trying to find things to improve my website!I suppose its ok to
    use a feew of your idea\

    Like

    • Thank you, Judi. I’m a researcher who is building a retirement career in health insurance. My goal with this blog is to make objective information available that can help people care for themselves and their loved ones. If there is any specific topic on which you would like to see information, please let me know.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s