What explains the association between socioeconomic status and depression among Vietnamese adults?

Doan, Vuong Diem Khanh (2011) What explains the association between socioeconomic status and depression among Vietnamese adults? PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Background Depression is a major public health problem worldwide and is currently ranked second to heart disease for years lost due to disability. For many decades, international research has found that depressive symptoms occur more frequently among low socioeconomic (SES) individuals than their more-advantaged peers. However, the reasons as to why those of low socioeconomic groups suffer more depressive symptoms are not well understood. Studies investigating the prevalence of depression and its association with SES emanate largely from developed countries, with little research among developing countries. In particular, there is a serious dearth of research on depression and no investigation of its association with SES in Vietnam. The aims of the research presented in this Thesis are to: estimate the prevalence of depressive symptoms among Vietnamese adults, examine the nature and extent of the association between SES and depression and to elucidate causal pathways linking SES to depressive symptoms Methods The research was conducted between September 2008 and November 2009 in Hue city in central Vietnam and used a combination of qualitative (in-depth interviews) and quantitative (survey) data collection methods. The qualitative study contributed to the development of the theoretical model and to the refinement of culturally-appropriate data collection instruments for the quantitative study. The main survey comprised a cross-sectional population–based survey with randomised cluster sampling. A sample of 1976 respondents aged between 25-55 years from ten randomly-selected residential zones (quarters) of Hue city completed the questionnaire (response rate 95.5%). Measures SES was classified using three indicators: education, occupation and income. The Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression (CES-D) scale was used to measure depressive symptoms (range0-51, mean=11.0, SD=8.5). Three cut-off points for the CES-D scores were applied: ‘at risk for clinical depression’ (16 or above), ‘depressive symptoms’ (above 21) and ‘depression’ (above 25). Six psychosocial indicators: life time trauma, chronic stress, recent life events, social support, self esteem, and mastery were hypothesized to mediate the association between SES and depressive symptoms. Analyses The prevalence of depressive symptoms were analysed using bivariate analyses. The multivariable analytic phase comprised of ordinary least squares regression, in accordance with Baron and Kenny’s three-step framework for mediation modeling. All analyses were adjusted for a range of confounders, including age, marital status, smoking, drinking and chronic diseases and the mediation models were stratified by gender. Results Among these Vietnamese adults, 24.3% were at or above the cut-off for being ‘at risk for clinical depression’, 11.9% were classified as having depressive symptoms and 6.8% were categorised as having depression. SES was inversely related to depressive symptoms: the least educated those with low occupational status or with the lowest incomes reported more depressive symptoms. Socioeconomicallydisadvantaged individuals were more likely to report experiencing stress (life time trauma, chronic stress or recent life events), perceived less social support and reported fewer personal resources (self esteem and mastery) than their moreadvantaged counterparts. These psychosocial resources were all significantly associated with depressive symptoms independent of SES. Each psychosocial factor showed a significant mediating effect on the association between SES and depressive symptoms. This was found for all measures of SES, and for males and females. In particular, personal resources (mastery, self esteem) and chronic stress accounted for a substantial proportion of the variation in depressive symptoms between socioeconomic groups. Social support and recent life events contributed modestly to socioeconomic differences in depressive symptoms, whereas lifetime trauma contributed the least to these inequalities. Conclusion This is the first known study in Vietnam or any developing country to systematically examine the extent to which psychosocial factors mediate the relationship between SES and depression. The study contributes new evidence regarding the burden of depression in Vietnam. The findings have practical relevance for advocacy, for mental health promotion and health-care services, and point to the need for programs that focus on building a sense of personal mastery and self esteem. More broadly, the work presented in this Thesis contributes to the international scientific literature on the social determinants of depression.

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ID Code: 50010
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Turrell, Gavin & Dunne, Michael
Keywords: chronic stress, cross-sectional survey, depression, life time trauma, mastery, mediating effect, prevalence, psychological resources, recent life events, self esteem, social support, socioeconomic status, Vietnamese adults
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 30 Apr 2012 06:03
Last Modified: 30 Apr 2012 06:03

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