Mayo Clinic researchers have revealed that rural, unmarried women are at a higher risk for depression than their married counterparts.
James Rohrer, Ph.D., of Mayo Clinic's Department of Family Medicine and lead author of the study, said that economic problems increase feelings of emotional stress.
"People today are worried about, among other things, the mortgage crisis and high gas prices. Many are left wondering how they are going to pay for necessities. Statistically, rural, unmarried women are more often economically depressed than their married counterparts," said Dr. Rohrer.
"If the economy worsens, we will see a significant impact on visits to primary care physicians and nurses. Medical providers are trained to focus on the biological and psychological. But economic causes of poor health? I don't think that receives a lot of air time in medical school," he added.
The study also found that single or divorced women in cities were more prone to poor self-rated health compared to married women.
The researchers used a cross-functional survey to gather self-ratings of overall health among female primary care patients aged 18 years and older who live in cities with a census of approximately 3,000.
They analyzed marital status and self-assessed mental health as potential risk factors for poor overall self-rated health among female primary care patients.
The analysis revealed that single or divorced women are more prone to poor self-rated health compared to married women. Women who described themselves as being depressed also had worse overall health and women aged 65 and older had an even higher risk of poor self- rated health.
The results of the study were recently published in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.