The study, which was conducted by researcher’s at the University of Bristol and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, involved more than 17,000 individuals aged between 18 and 64.
The results of the study showed that there was a strong link between increasing levels of psychological distress and the likelihood of receiving a disability pension within five years.
Throughout the study, 649 individuals started receiving disability benefits, 203 of whom were awarded it for a mental health problem and the rest for poor physical health.
The research, which was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health has suggested that the link could be a result of stress taking a physical toll on the body as well as a mental toll.
Furthermore, over 15 per cent of the disability pensions awarded to those in the Swedish study were for a physical problem linked to stress.
Experts have said that the effects of mild psychological distress are underestimated with this study suggesting that even low levels of stress can eventually result in further physical and mental problems.
‘Mild psychological distress may be associated with more long-term disability than previously acknowledged and its public health importance may be underestimated.’ Concluded the authors of the study.
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