Neuroticism among adults aged between 18 and 65 costs society some 10 billion euro yearly. This amounts to some 2.5 times the costs of depression and anxiety disorders combined. The results of the study were published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Neuroticism is a personality trait that has a tendency to experience the negative emotional reactions to threatening situations, frustration or loss. Neurotic individuals are more susceptible to mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and personality disorders. Neuroticism also occurs more often than average in combination with general health problems and physical ailments. However, the high costs of neuroticism cannot entirely be explained by the association with depression and anxiety disorders.
The costs of neuroticism for mental health care were estimated on the basis of a sample of 5,500 Dutch citizens (from the Nemesis population survey). The bulk of the costs (over 90%) were incurred by work absenteeism, and only a small part was attributable to health care costs. According to Pim Cuijpers, professor of clinical psychology at the VU University, who led the research, this study indicates the importance of investing in treatments and interventions to help neuroticism, as opposed to focussing on the various disorders and conditions that accompany or result from neuroticism, as is currently often the case.
Cuijpers P, Smit F, Penninx BWJH, Graaf R de, Have M ten, Beekman ATF. The Economic Costs of Neuroticism: a Population-Based study. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2010: 67(10): 1086-93.
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