POOR MENTAL HEALTH AND ITS POOR EFFECTS
Poor mental health is a leading cause of disability worldwide with considerable negative impacts, particularly in low-income countries. Nevertheless, empirical evidence on its national prevalence in low-income countries, particularly in Africa, is limited. Additionally, researchers and policy makers are now calling for empirical investigations of the association between empowerment and poor mental health among women. We therefore sought to estimate the national prevalence of poor mental health in world, explore its correlates on a national level, and examine associations between empowerment and poor mental health among women. The prevalence of psychological distress was higher among women than men. Overall, the prevalence of psychological distress differed by gender, marital status, education, wealth, region, health and religion, but not by age or urban/ rural location. Women who reported having experienced physical abuse, increased partner control, and who were more accepting of women’s disempowerment had greater likelihoods of psychological distress. Women who are disempowered in the context of intimate relationships may be particularly vulnerable to psychological distress. Results identify populations to be targeted by interventions aiming to improve mental health.