Project 087

Project Title:

Risk Factors for Poor Mental Health and Family Contagion


Dr Aideen Maguire, Dr Dermot O’Reilly and Dr Michael Rosato


Queen’s University Belfast



Project Summary:

Mental ill health places a major disease burden on society and Northern Ireland has one of the highest rates of poor mental health in the UK.  A range of risk factors for poor mental health have been identified including deprivation, low education, unemployment, co-morbid physical health problems and family history. However, there are many questions relating to mental health that remain unclear; some of these form the basis of the proposed study and are listed below.

Research questions:

  • What is the relationship between poor mental health and family exposure
  • What is the association between area deprivation and poor mental, i.e. is the observed association due to (i) an increased number of people with poor mental health or (ii) a higher concentration of families with concentrated poor mental health
  • Which particular physical health problems are associated with the greatest increase in poor mental health
  • What is the relationship between multi-morbidity and poor mental health
  • Does a history of poor mental health increase the mortality risk of those suffering from multi-morbidity
  • Does a history of poor mental health in parents increase the risk of suicide in off-spring


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