Recently there has been increasing interest in understanding and addressing health
inequalities and enhancing the well-being of the population as a whole through
anticipatory care and better health care delivery. The current study aimed to
investigate the predictive relationships between smoking behaviour, physical health,
and mental health in a deprived population using models of mediation.
Participants had attended a Keep Well health check, a national programme offering
health screening, advice, referrals and signposting to individuals aged 45-64 living in
deprived areas. Participants completed a questionnaire measuring smoking status,
physical health (RAND general health subscale), mental health symptoms (GHQ-12),
positive mental health (WEMWBS), and demographic information.
The current study found that smoking mediated the relationship between mental
health problems and physical health, as well as mediating the relationship between
positive mental health and physical health.
These findings suggest that by offering interventions to encourage individuals to stop
smoking health care providers can hope to reduce mental health problems via direct
effects but also via an indirect benefit of improvements in physical health. There are
also opportunities to improve physical health via the direct effects of reducing mental
health problems and increasing positive mental health, as well as the indirect effect