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Delusional-like experiences (DLE) have been associated with low income, suggesting that more broadly defined socio-economic disadvantage may be associated with these experiences. We had the opportunity to explore the association between DLE and both individual- and area-level measures of socio-economic disadvantage.
Subjects were drawn from the Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing 2007. The Composite International Diagnostic Interview was used to identify DLE, common psychiatric disorders, and physical disorders. Individual-level and area-level socio-economic disadvantage measures were available based on variables including income, educational attainment, employment status, and housing. We examined the relationship between the variables of interest using logistic regression, adjusting for potential confounding factors.
Of the 8773 subjects, 8.4% (n=776) positively endorsed one or more DLE. DLE screen items were more likely to be endorsed by those who were (a) younger, (b) never married, or widowed, separated or divorced status, (c) migrants, or (d) living in rented houses. There were significant associations between socio-economic disadvantage and increased DLE endorsement, and this was found for both individual-level and area-level measures of socio-economic disadvantage. In general, the associations remained significant after adjusting for a range of potential confounding factors and in planned sensitivity analyses.
DLE are associated with socio-economic disadvantage in the general population. We speculate that the link between socio-economic disadvantage and DLE may be mediated by psychosocial stress and general psychological distress.
Keywords : Delusional-like experiences, Socio-economic disadvantage, Epidemiology