Advances in Mental Health, Vol 10, No 2 (2011)

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Psychological distress among Australians and immigrants: Findings from the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing

Sanjay Sharma

Abstract


Abstract

Objectives: To determine the prevalence and the correlates of high level of psychological distress among Australians born in the country and among the immigrants.

 

Method: Data were obtained from the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, 2007. Logistic regression over SPSS was used in the data analysis.

 

Results: The prevalence of high level of psychological distress among usually resident Australians over one month period prior to the interview was 2.6%. It was higher among Australians born overseas in non-English Speaking Countries (3.1%) than those born in the country (2.6%) and in main English Speaking Countries (2.0%). Several demographic, behavioural, social characteristics  and chronic health conditions were  significantly related with the experience of high psychological distress among the participants of the survey.  In particular, lack of social support network (dissolved marital relationship and rare contact with friends) was the significant predictor of high distress that was common to the three groups.

 

Conclusion: The study provides prevalence and correlates of psychological distress among Australians born in the country and immigrants. For several personal and cultural reasons the experience of psychological distress is seldom discussed with health care professionals. The findings could help primary health care professionals in the identification of patients with high level of psychological distress for their appropriate referrals. The survey and the data have certain limitations that are discussed.

 







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