Education as a predictor of antidepressant and anxiolytic medication use after bereavement: a population-based record linkage study

Maguire, A., Moriaty, J., O'Reilly, D. and McCann, M. (2017) Education as a predictor of antidepressant and anxiolytic medication use after bereavement: a population-based record linkage study. Quality of Life Research, 26(5), pp. 1251-1262. (doi: 10.1007/s11136-016-1440-1) (PMID:27770330) (PMCID:PMC5376389)

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Purpose: Educational attainment has been shown to be positively associated with mental health and a potential buffer to stressful events. One stressful life event likely to affect everyone in their lifetime is bereavement. This paper assesses the effect of educational attainment on mental health post-bereavement. Methods: By utilising large administrative datasets, linking Census returns to death records and prescribed medication data, we analysed the bereavement exposure of 208,332 individuals aged 25–74 years. Two-level multi-level logistic regression models were constructed to determine the likelihood of antidepressant medication use (a proxy of mental ill health) post-bereavement given level of educational attainment. Results: Individuals who are bereaved have greater antidepressant use than those who are not bereaved, with over a quarter (26.5 %) of those bereaved by suicide in receipt of antidepressant medication compared to just 12.4 % of those not bereaved. Within individuals bereaved by a sudden death, those with a university degree or higher qualifications are 73 % less likely to be in receipt of antidepressant medication compared to those with no qualifications, after full adjustment for demographic, socio-economic and area factors (OR 0.27, 95 % CI 0.09,0.75). Higher educational attainment and no qualifications have an equivalent effect for those bereaved by suicide. Conclusions: Education may protect against poor mental health, as measured by the use of antidepressant medication, post-bereavement, except in those bereaved by suicide. This is likely due to the improved cognitive, personal and psychological skills gained from time spent in education.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McCann, Dr Mark
Authors: Maguire, A., Moriaty, J., O'Reilly, D., and McCann, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Quality of Life Research
ISSN (Online):1573-2649
Published Online:21 October 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in Quality of Life Research 26(5):1251-1262
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
620221MRC SPHSU/GU Transfer FellowshipsLaurence MooreMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_PC_13027IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU