It might seem like moving to the countryside can bring peace and even happiness, but a new study shows that isn’t always the case.
A University of Houston study found that people in rural areas are no more satisfied with their lives than people in urban areas. Rural residents of the United States did not consider their lives more meaningful, and were also more anxious, depressed and neurotic, writes News Max.
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Among the reasons for this is a shortage of mental health professionals, and researchers have noted a spike in rural hospital closures since 2010. Nearly 85% of all rural counties lack mental health professionals, according to the study, although rural residents appear to be in need of more mental health services.
“It’s critical to improve access to mental health services in remote areas and identify how the characteristics and values of rural communities can be used to promote positive mental health,” said researcher Olivia Atherton, associate professor of psychology at the University of Houston.
Atherton and her colleagues analyzed data from two large, long-term studies of Americans: Middle Age in the United States (MIDUS) and the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS).
They looked to see if there were different levels and changes in extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. They also examined whether there were differences or changes in psychological well-being and life satisfaction in adulthood.
“Given the far-reaching impacts of rural health inequalities on individuals, families and communities, there is an urgent need to identify the psychological, social and structural mechanisms responsible for inequalities and how to influence these mechanisms to improve population health,” said Atherton in a university press release.
Previously, Focus wrote that now doctors are able to determine psychological disorders by blood tests. Researchers have developed a blood test to determine a person’s risk of developing anxiety, as well as determine its severity and the best course of treatment.
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