Mental resources, mental health and sociodemography: a cluster analysis based on a representative population survey in a large German city
Background: Mental resources such as optimism and social support are important to face different stressors. The aim of this study is to identify groups in the population that are similar in terms of their mental resources.
Methods: For this purpose, a randomly selected general population community sample was used, representative for the city of Leipzig, Germany. In a two-stage process, three clusters were identified using hierarchical cluster analysis and the K-means method and then tested with a multinomial logistic regression analysis for differences in sociodemographic characteristics.
Results: Three clusters were identified which vary in their extent of social support and optimism. In distinguishing between those with higher and lower (medium or poor) mental resources, male gender, unemployment, being born abroad and low household income are risk factors for having fewer mental resources. Internal migrants from West Germany and persons with children at home have a higher chance of being in the type with good mental resources. The groups with medium and lower mental resources differ significantly only by variables living with a partner and employment.
Conclusion: Our results indicate that good mental resources are associated with good mental health. Special mental health care programs, focusing in particular on the needs of vulnerable groups with poor mental resources within a society, should be implemented.