BACKGROUND Few epidemiological studies have focused on the occurrence of positive mental health, and those comparing several countries practically non-existent. This study presents comparative findings of positive mental health in 11 EU countries or regions, based on the Eurobarometer 2002 (autumn) survey. METHOD The sample (n = 10,878) represents the general population, aged 15 or over, of 11 European countries or regions (all old EU Member States except Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Finland and Great Britain which had to be excluded because of poor response rate, less than 45%). The method of opinion survey was applied using face-to-face interviews. The Energy and Vitality Index (EVI) from the SF-36 questionnaire was use as measure of positive mental health. RESULTS Overall, there were between-country differences in the gender- and age-adjusted EVI mean scores. In general, poorer mental health was found in women, older age groups, those in poor economic position and those experiencing weak social support. CONCLUSION Methodological biases cannot be fully excluded, and thus, one has to take the presented results with certain caution, especially when comparing the results from the different countries. On the other hand, the results on the determinants of positive mental health are in concordance with most previous studies.
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