Consideration of the determinants of women's mental health in remote Australian mining towns
Families in remote mining towns constitute a specific sociological group living under unique geographical and sociocultural circumstances. Isolation from friends and relatives and limited resources and opportunities for family members of mine workers are some of the distinct disadvantages of these towns. Decades ago it was observed that a large number of women in new and remote mining towns suffered from neurotic problems. In contemporary times there is a deficit of knowledge about the mental health of women in remote mining towns. However, there are certain indicators of significant mental distress among women living in these particular environments. Deriving from a review of literature, this paper explores various mining work-related issues and sociocultural settings and processes within remote mining towns that could possibly exert coercive pressures on the psychological health of female partners of mine workers and their relationship well-being. The paper suggests that work schedules and preponderance of men in mining jobs help promote a patriarchal culture within the community and the family; thereby marginalising women to a secondary status. Limited opportunities and resources within the community isolate women to domestic lives; while atypical work rosters associated with mining employment could negatively impact on the relationship well-being of couples. The paper recommends that an inquiry into psychiatric well-being among women of remote mining communities needs to consider the sociocultural structure and processes within these communities, and the structural nature of the mining job that could be responsible for role strain-induced stress and mental health problems among these women.
The Australian Journal of Rural Health
Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified