Higher levels of mental wellbeing predict lower risk of common mental disorders in the Danish general population

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Few studies have investigated the protective role of higher levels of wellbeing in relation to common mental disorders (CMDs). The objective of this study was to explore the protective role of mental wellbeing at baseline on CMDs during a 12–16 months follow-up period in the Danish general population.

Data stem from a Danish nationally-representative panel study of 6629 adults (aged 15+ years) conducted in 2019 and 2020, which was linked to Danish register data. A validated scale (SWEMWBS) was used to assess mental wellbeing, along with pre-defined cut-points for low/moderate/high mental wellbeing. Register-based outcomes were 1) onset of ICD-10 CMDs, and 2) onset or recurrence of antidepressant use. The survey-based outcome was case depression based on a screening tool (PHQ-8 score≥10). Register-based analyses (N = 6624) were conducted with Cox regression, and the survey-based analysis (N = 5000) was conducted with logistic regression.

Mental wellbeing was negatively associated with all outcomes, both continuously and dose-dependently. Notably, as compared to low mental wellbeing, moderate mental wellbeing was associated with a 55–68% reduction in risk for all outcomes (onset of ICD-10 CMDs; onset or recurrence of antidepressant use; onset or recurrence of case depression based on the PHQ-8), while high mental wellbeing was associated with a 69–90% reduction in the same outcomes.

Higher levels of mental wellbeing are protective against onset or recurrence of CMDs. Future studies are warranted to investigate the effectiveness of universal and targeted approaches to promote mental wellbeing and prevent CMDs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number200233
JournalMental Health & Prevention
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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