J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc.  1999 Nov;38(6):1234-1244.

Measurement and Determinants of Mental Health States for the Urban Poor

  • 1Ajou University, School of medicine, Suwon, Korea.
  • 2Ansan Health Center, Ansan, Korea.


This study was performed to support and enhance the community mental health for the urban poor. The purposes of the study were as follows: 1) to investigate the mental health states of the urban poor, who are the first target population, 2) to identify the factors influencing their mental health states.
The subjects were community residents in low socioeconomic level, who are 20-59 years old. And the scale used was GHQ (General Health Questionnaire) which is used for screening the mental health states of groups and self-esteem. The survey subjects were directly interviewed by staffs in Public Mental Health Center. SPSS PC 6.0 was used for the statistical analysis. It investigated the mental health states, according to social and demographic attributes, and self-esteem of target population. And the mental health states were analyzed to three subdomains: overall mental health states, social dysfunction, and anxiety-depression domains.
First, in demographic attributes, the old men, who are of low socioeconomic level, single, bad physical health, low community life satisfaction, low educational background, and having no religons, were low in overall mental health states, social function, and high in anxiety-depression domain. Second, the residents, who had high self-esteem, were high in overall mental health states, social funtion, and low in anxiety-depression domain. Third, the residents, who had high self-esteem scores, were significantly high in overall mental health states, social function, and low in anxiety-depression domain. Fourth, Among the various factors influencing the mental health states, the self-esteem was the most important factor, and the physical health was the next important factor. And the higher self-esteem they had, the better physical health states, the older they were, the higher the mental health states became. Fifth, comparing the high risk group with non-risk group, those who were in their 20's and 40's, had no wives or husbands, low educational background, physical workers, and were not well healthy, were apt to have mental diseases.
In the future, the first target population in the community mental health services will be the urban poor in low mental health states. For those who are apt to have mental diseases, the first step of community mental health works is to find, select and give basic mental health services. The staffs in community mental health center have to develop various mental health programs and inform the public of them.


Mental health states; Self-esteem; GHQ; SES; Community mental health services

MeSH Terms

Community Mental Health Services
Health Services Needs and Demand
Mass Screening
Mental Health Services
Mental Health*
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