thePeople with a lower level of literacy face more mental health problems across the world, according to a study by the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK and published in the scientific journal Mental Health and Social Inclusion.
According to a statement from the UEA, the study “Global Literacy and Mental Health: A Systematic Review” is “the first to look at the global picture of literacy and mental health.”
Research shows that the 14% of the world’s population with less or no reading and writing skills are more likely to suffer from mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
“Despite rising literacy rates over the past 50 years, there are still an estimated 773 million adults worldwide who cannot read or write,” said Bonnie Teague, associate professor at the University of East Anglia, quoting the statement.
The researcher adds that these rates are “lower in developing countries and in countries with a history of conflict” and that “women are disproportionately affected,” and they represent two-thirds of the illiterate people in the world.
Bonnie Teague also states that it is known that people with higher education “tend to have better social outcomes”, for example finding a job and getting better wages.
In addition, “the inability to read or write impedes a person’s development throughout his life” and is associated with poverty, and is also associated with “health problems, chronic diseases, and reduced life expectancy.”
The team of researchers from the Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy (CPPT) at UEA analyzed data from 19 studies with accounts on literacy and mental health, conducted in nine different countries (China, Brazil, United States, Ghana, India, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan and Thailand) It includes nearly two million people and an equal number of men and women.
“What we found was a significant association between literacy and mental health in several countries,” says Lucy Hoon, whose co-author of the study was part of her PhD in clinical psychology training at the University of East Anglia, noting that it cannot be said “for sure.” That this lower literacy causes mental health problems.”
The report notes that the limitations of the included studies are from “only nine countries, many of which are low-middle-income countries, so they cannot be considered truly representative of the global picture.”
“There can be a number of factors affecting mental health that also affect literacy – such as poverty or living in an area with a history of conflict. However, what the data shows is that even in these environments worse health can be seen Psychic Lucy Hunn, quoted in the aforementioned statement, says:
The study concluded that “promoting literacy at an early age and throughout life can have a positive impact on mental health.”
It highlights, on the other hand, “the importance of health professionals being able to identify and support people with low literacy” in services related to mental health.
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