Relationship between Health Status and Psychological Distress among the Inhabitants in a Methylmercury-Polluted Area in Japan


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Abstract

ABSTRACT.This study examined the relationship between health parameters and psychological distress among inhabitants of methylmercury-polluted areas in Japan. The subjects were 133 inhabitants over the age of 40 yr living in two methylmercury-polluted villages. Information on demographic factors, health status, and mental health was obtained using questionnaires, including the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ). The proportional odds model was used to estimate the adjusted odds ratios of factors associated with a higher GHQ score after adjustment for age, gender, and district. Very poor self-rated health status, a high number (5+) of subjective symptoms, having monthly outpatient visits and medical house calls, and receiving compensation for methylmercury poisoning were significantly associated with psychological distress. Poor physical condition may lead to the development of psychological distress.

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