Psychological distress among Australians and immigrants: Findings from the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing
Objectives: To compare the prevalence and correlates of high levels of psychological distress in Australians born in the country and immigrants. Method: Data were obtained from the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, 2007. Logistic regression within SPSS v.19 was used in data analysis. Results: The prevalence of high levels of psychological distress among usually resident Australians over 1 month prior to 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 or from English Speaking Countries (2.0%). Several demographic, behavioural, social characteristics, and chronic health conditions were significantly correlated with the experience of high psychological distress among the participants. In particular, lack of a social support network (dissolved marital relationship, and rare contact with friends) was a significant predictor of high distress common to all three groups. Conclusion: The study provides prevalence and correlates of high levels of psychological distress among Australians born in the country and immigrants - both from English speaking and non-English speaking countries. Given that for personal and cultural reasons psychological distress is seldom discussed with health care profession- als, the findings may alert primary health care professionals to the need to identify patients with high levels of psychological distress and provide appropriate referrals. The survey and the data have certain limitations that are discussed.
Advances in Mental Health