We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Trajectories in mental health and socio-spatial conditions in a time of economic recovery and austerity: a longitudinal study in England, 2011-2017.

Curtis, Sarah and Cunningham, Niall and Pearce, Jamie and Congdon, Peter and Cherrie, Mark and Atkinson, Sarah (2021) 'Trajectories in mental health and socio-spatial conditions in a time of economic recovery and austerity: a longitudinal study in England, 2011-2017.', Social science and medicine., 270 . p. 113654.


This paper examines trends in mental health among adults in England during the period of economic recovery and austerity following the 2008 ‘great recession’. We report analysis of data on 17,212 individuals living in England, from the longitudinal Understanding Society Survey (USS). We examined how individual's self-reported mental health over time (2011–2017), related to their changing socio-geographical status. Self-reported mental health is reported in the USS using version 2 of the SF12 Mental Component Summary. Trends in this score (across 5 observations per subject) were categorised into Mental Health Trajectory Groups (MHTGs) using Group Based Trajectory Modelling. We used maximum-likelihood multinomial logit models to estimate for individuals the relative likelihood of belonging to different Mental Health Trajectory categories as compared with a ‘base’ category, for whom mental health was good and stable throughout the period. We focus on likelihood of belonging to a group showing ‘declining’ mental health. Predictor variables included individuals' attributes and area conditions in their places of residence (including Office of National Statistics indicators of local employment deprivation and data on average income loss within districts due to welfare benefit reforms, published by the Centre of Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University, UK). Our results emphasise the multiple socio-geographical ‘determinants’ likely to be operating on individual mental health. Declining mental health was associated both with conditions at the start of the study period and with social and socio-geographical mobility by the end of the study period. Risks of declining mental health were significantly greater for more deprived individuals and also (controlling for individual attributes) among those living in English neighbourhoods that were already economically disadvantaged at the beginning of the ‘great recession’ and located in districts where average incomes were most severely impacted by the effects of governmental austerity programmes on welfare benefits.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Mental-health England, Austerity, Deprivation, Geography, Mobility
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:© 2021 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:22 December 2020
Date deposited:10 February 2021
Date of first online publication:29 December 2020
Date first made open access:29 December 2021

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar