Causal and mediating factors for anxiety, depression and well-being

Peter Kinderman, Sara Tai, Eleanor Pontin, Matthias Schwannauer, Ian Jarman, Paulo Lisboa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



The relationship between well-being and mental ill health is complex; people may experience very low levels of well-being even in the absence of overt mental health problems. 


This study tested the hypothesis that anxiety, depression and well-being have different causal determinants and psychological mediating mechanisms. 


The influence of causal and mediating factors on anxiety, depression and well-being were investigated in a cross-sectional online questionnaire survey hosted on a UK national broadcasting website. 


Multivariate conditional independence analysis of data from 27 397 participants revealed different association pathways for the two constructs. Anxiety and depression were associated with negative life events mediated by rumination; low levels of subjective well-being were associated with material deprivation and social isolation, mediated by adaptive coping style. 


Our findings support the 'two continua' model of the relationship between psychological well-being and mental health problems, with implications for both treatment and prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-460
Number of pages5
JournalThe British Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015


  • adolescent
  • adult
  • aged
  • aged, 80 and over
  • anxiety disorders
  • depressive Disorder
  • female
  • humans
  • interpersonal relations
  • life change events
  • male
  • middle aged
  • surveys and questionnaires
  • thinking
  • United Kingdom
  • young adult


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