Hong Kong people suffer greater mental health problems than their American counterparts and are more careless in their work as a result, according to a survey. Of 2,410 adults, aged 18 to 88, interviewed in the SAR, a third admitted they were not as careful in their work as they should be and a quarter said they could not do as much as they wanted due to depression or anxiety. Researchers at the University of Hong Kong's department of medicine, who carried out the survey between July and August, blamed the economic downturn and cramped living spaces for psychological problems. Dr Cindy Lam Lo-kuen, associate professor at the department, said: 'Hong Kong, on the whole, is a more competitive society than America. 'People live in more crowded spaces and work longer hours without taking holidays. 'All these factors may explain why they have more psychological problems, along with the recent economic downturn.' The questionnaire, called the First Population-based Survey on Quality of Life and Health Status, measured eight aspects of health-related quality of life on a scale of 0 to 100. The survey also took into account physical fitness, vitality and general health. It found the mean score in the performance of daily work under the influence of psychological problems, caused by anxiety, stress and cramped living conditions, was 72 compared with the mean score of 81 in identical tests carried out in America. The mean mental health status score of 73 was also lower than for the American mean of 75. But the survey found people in Hong Kong were physically healthier, achieving a mean score of 91 compared to the American mean score of only 84. The survey was among 10 discoveries revealed by the university's department of medicine at Queen Mary Hospital yesterday.