Socio-economic status and the risk of mental morbidity: A cross sectional study of two socio-economically dissimilar Nigerian communities”

  • Samuel O Osasona
  • ON Koleoso


Previous cross-sectional studies, mostly in the western countries, have shown that people in lower  socio economic groups have an increased prevalence of mental morbidity. More studies are needed in the  developing countries to examine this relationship. This study examined the relationship between socio- economic status (SES) andmentalmorbidity intwo socio-economicallydissimilar communities. Four hundred residents of Uwelu and BDPA (Ugbowo) communities in the Benin City  metropolis, aged 18 years  and above who were selected bymulti stage sampling technique participated in the cross-sectional  study.Mental morbidity was   assessed bymeans of the 28-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ – 28),  and SES by selfreportedmonthly income, educational attainment, occupation, and type of housing  accommodation. Chi-square andmultiple regression analysiswere used to analyze the data. There were  statistically significant differences between the two communities on all the indices of SES, Uwelu being  more socio-economically disadvantaged than BDPA(Ugbowo). The prevalence of  probablementalmorbidity was higher amongst respondents in Uwelu than BDPA respondents (28.5% and 19.5% respectively; (P = 0.03). Mental morbidity was  significantly associated with lowmonthly income (P=0.003), education  (P=0.000), and type of accommodation (P = 0.001). The odds of developing mental  morbidity for respondents in Uwelu is 1.72 times higher than for those in BDPA(P=0.075). The study found a   significantly higher prevalence of mental morbidity  among residents of Uwelu, the more   socio economically disadvantaged community. The need for intervention and preventive efforts targeting socio economic  adversities, as well as preventing persons with mental illness  from down ward social mobility was discussed.

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eISSN: 1596-6941