The epidemiology of nonspecific psychological distress in New York City, 2002 and 2003

Katharine H. McVeigh, Sandro Galea, Lorna Thorpe, Catherine Maulsby, Kelly Henning, Lloyd I. Sederer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The 30-day prevalence of nonspecific psychological distress (NPD) is 3%, nationwide. Little is known about the prevalence and correlates of NPD in urban areas. This study documents the prevalence of NPD among adults in New York City (NYC) using population-based data from the 2002 and 2003 NYC Community Health Surveys (CHS) and identifies correlates of NPD in this population. We examined two cross-sectional random-digit-dialed telephone surveys of NYC adults (2002: N = 9,764; 2003: N = 9,802). Kessler's K6 scale was used to measure NPD. Age-adjusted 30-day prevalence of NPD declined from 6.4% [95% Confidence Interval (CI): 5.8-7.0] in 2002 to 5.1% [95% CI: 4.5-5.6] in 2003. New Yorkers who were poor, in poor health, chronically unemployed, uninsured, and formerly married had the highest prevalence of NPD. Declines occurred among those who were married, white, recently unemployed, and female. NPD prevalence in NYC is higher than national estimates. A stronger economy and recovery from September 11th attacks may have contributed to the 2003 decline observed among selected subgroups. The excess prevalence of NPD may be associated with substantial economic and societal burden. Research to understand the etiology of this high prevalence and interventions to promote mental health in NYC are indicated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)394-405
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Volume83
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2006

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epidemiology
Epidemiology
confidence
Psychology
etiology
health
telephone
urban area
mental health
economy
community
economics
Confidence Intervals
Health Surveys
Telephone
Population
Mental Health
Cross-Sectional Studies
Economics
Health

Keywords

  • Epidemiology
  • Mental health
  • Surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

The epidemiology of nonspecific psychological distress in New York City, 2002 and 2003. / McVeigh, Katharine H.; Galea, Sandro; Thorpe, Lorna; Maulsby, Catherine; Henning, Kelly; Sederer, Lloyd I.

In: Journal of Urban Health, Vol. 83, No. 3, 05.2006, p. 394-405.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

McVeigh, Katharine H. ; Galea, Sandro ; Thorpe, Lorna ; Maulsby, Catherine ; Henning, Kelly ; Sederer, Lloyd I. / The epidemiology of nonspecific psychological distress in New York City, 2002 and 2003. In: Journal of Urban Health. 2006 ; Vol. 83, No. 3. pp. 394-405.
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