• Vol. 42 No. 10, 514–523
  • 15 October 2013

Socio-demographic Correlates of Positive Mental Health and Differences by Depression and Anxiety in an Asian Community Sample



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Introduction: Positive Mental Health (PMH) instrument is a self-administered multidimensional measure that is validated in the adult multi-ethnic Asian population in Singapore and comprises General Coping (GC), Emotional Support (ES), Spirituality, Interpersonal Skills (IS), Personal Growth and Autonomy (PGA) and Global Affect (GA) domains. This paper aimed to (i) examine socio-demographic differences and identify correlates for the total PMH and domain-specific scores in the sample, and (ii) compare the PMH total score for respondents with and without depression or anxiety.

Materials and Methods: Singapore residents aged 21 to 65 years, of Chinese, Malay or Indian ethnicity and residing in households across Singapore (n = 404) completed the 47-item PMH instrument in an anonymous survey. Socio-demographic information was obtained during the survey and respondents also completed the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-8 and Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)-7 scale to establish depression and anxiety. Descriptive analyses were conducted to examine for differences in PMH scores by socio-demographic groups and between those with and without depression and anxiety.

Results: The total PMH score was significantly different across ethnicity and marital status in the bivariate analysis. After multivariate analysis, ethnicity remained a significant correlate for total PMH and the 6 domain-specific PMH scores, marital status correlated with Spirituality, educational level was associated with IS; while gender was associated with ES and PGA. Significantly lower PMH total scores were observed for those with depression and anxiety as compared to those without.

Conclusion: Socio-demographic correlates of PMH were identified in an Asian community sample. PMH scores were significantly lower among those with depression and anxiety.

In the past, the study of mental health status and indicators was restricted to the medical perspective of understanding and establishing the prevalence and risk factors of mental
illness in the population. In 1996, Keith Tudor defined mental health as a positive concept and separated it from mental illness and psychopathology.

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