To link to full-text access for this article, visit this link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.10.005 Byline: Stephani L. Hatch (a), Samuel B. Harvey (a), Barbara Maughan (b) Abstract: There is an increasing awareness of the social and economic burden of untreated mental illness. However, the question remains whether the individuals who are not identified as having a mental disorder are mentally healthy and socially functioning. This study aims to examine the sequence of Keyes's (Keyes, C. L. M. (2002). The mental health continuum: from languishing to flourishing in life. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 43, 207-222.) mental health categories based on psychological status and well-being, and to identify qualitative differences in these categories by developmental-contextual factors and concurrent physical health status and social functioning. This study uses data from the UK 1958 National Child Development Study. Information was collected on the cohort members from childhood to age 33 years. Psychological distress (measured using the Malaise Inventory) and well-being (self-efficacy and appraisals of life circumstances) were assessed at age 33 years. Multinomial (polytomous) logistic regression models were used to examine the effects of individual characteristics and social contextual factors from childhood through adolescence on cross categorisations of psychological distress and well-being. Our findings suggest that there are similar early life predictors for both poor psychosocial functioning and mental ill-health. Our results also demonstrated a clear gradient of physical health and social functioning across mental health categories, even in the absence of mental disorder. Individual and social contextual factors in early life appear to offer clues as to why the absence of psychological distress does not always imply good mental health or social functioning. Author Affiliation: (a) Department of Psychological Medicine, King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK (b) MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK Article Note: (footnote) [star] Stephani L. Hatch and Samuel B. Harvey are supported by the Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London and The South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. Barbara Maughan is supported by the UK Medical Research Council. Additional funding for the presentation of this paper was provided by the UK British Academy.