People with poor mental health may have a shorter lifespan, according to a large-scale population based study.
Researchers from University College London (UCL) and University of Edinburgh analysed data from over 68,000 adults aged 35 years and over who took part in the Health Survey for England from 1994 to 2004.
Participants in the study had been evaluated for mental health problems using a recognised scale ranging from no symptoms to severe symptoms of depression and anxiety, reported the British Medical Journal.
The team then looked to see whether people who reported these symptoms during the study were more likely to have died over an eight-year period. They also examined whether there was an association with death from cardiovascular disease, cancer or from external causes of death, according to an UCL statement.
Their results reveal that people who experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression had a lower life expectancy than those without any such symptoms.
Even people with minor symptoms of mental health problems seemed to have a higher risk of death from several major causes, including cardiovascular disease.
David Batty, Wellcome Trust research fellow in epidemiology and public health at UCL and senior study author, explained: "These associations also remained after we did our best to take into account other factors such as weight, exercise, smoking, alcohol consumption and diabetes."