Mental complaints mainly found in women, older people and lower educated

18/01/2011 15:00

In the period 2001–2009, an average 14 percent of Dutch adults had mental problems. Mental problems are most frequently found in women, over-75s and lower educated. Married persons are mentally healthier than unmarried people.

Older women most often have mental complaints

In general, women are in a less healthy mental state than men. Between 2001 and 2009, an average of one in six women had mental complaints versus one in ten men.

Mental complaints are most frequently found among over-75s, followed by persons in the age category 45–55. Young people under the age of 25 have the best mental health.

The relation between age and mental health is different for men and women. The state of health of 45 to 55-year-old men is relatively poor and young men are relatively healthy. Mental complaints in the female population are predominantly found in women over the age of 65.

Mental complaints by age and gender, 2001/2009

Mental complaints by age and gender, 2001/2009

Lower educated have more mental problems

Lower educated persons tend to have more mental problems than higher educated persons. An average 9.7 percent of people educated at higher vocational or university level suffer from psychological problems versus nearly 24 percent of people whose highest level of education is primary school.

Mental complaints by level of education, 2001/2009

Mental complaints by level of education, 2001/2009

Married couples in good mental health

Married people are in a better mental state than unmarried persons. On average, more than 11 percent of married people had mental complaints in the period 2001–2009, as opposed to 14 percent of unmarried people. The highest rate of unhealthy people is found among widowed and divorced persons; more than 23 percent of them had psychological complaints.

Most widowed persons are women, over-75s and lower educated. If the composition of the group is taken into account, widows and widowers are in a better mental health state than divorced persons.

Mental complaints by marital status, 2001/2009

Mental complaints by marital status, 2001/2009

Marian Driessen and Marieke Houben–van Herten