Publication Date



Objective: Data suggest there are established socio-economic disparities associated with mental health although most research has focused on individual-level indicators of socio-economic position. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between mood disorders and area-based socio-economic status (SES), and whether both ends of the SES continuum experienced increased odds for a mood disorder. Methods: Using a clinical interview (SCID-I/NP), psychiatric history was ascertained in a population-based sample of 1095 women (20–93 years) from the Barwon Statistical Division, south-eastern Australia. SES was determined by cross-referencing residential addresses with Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006 census data for the region and categorised into three groupings of low, mid, and upper SES. The Index of Economic Resources (IER), Index of Education and Occupation (IEO), and Index of Relative Socioeconomic Advantage/Disadvantage (IRSAD) were utilised. Lifestyle factors were self-reported. Results: For IER, the low SES group had a 2.0-fold increased odds of a current mood disorder compared to the mid group, after adjustment for physical activity and current anxiety (OR = 2.0, 95% CI 1.0–4.1, p = 0.05). This pattern was similarly observed for IEO (OR = 1.8, 95% CI 0.9–3.7, p = 0.1) and IRSAD (OR = 1.6 95% CI 0.8–3.4, p = 0.2). Those within the upper SES group showed a non-significant increase in the odds of a current mood disorder compared to the mid-group; IER (OR = 1.4, 95% CI 0.8–2.5, p = 0.3), IEO (OR = 1.2, 95% CI 0.07–2.3, p = 0.5) and IRSAD (OR = 1.2, 95% CI 0.7–2.1, p = 0.6). Conclusions: Women in the low SES category were most likely to have a mood disorder. Furthermore, being in an upper SES group may not be protective against mood disorders.


Institute for Health and Ageing

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

Access may be restricted.