The Australian national survey of mental health and well-being: Common psychological symptoms and disablement

A. Korten*, S. Henderson

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    78 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Background: The mental health of populations can be represented by case prevalence rates and by symptom scales. Scales have the advantage of identifying sub-syndromal levels of distress, which may be common and associated with considerable disability. Aims: To examine the distribution of common psychological symptoms and associated disablement in the Australian population. Method: A household sample of 10 641 individuals representative of the adult population of Australia was interviewed using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview and completed scales measuring recent symptoms and disablement. Results: Symptom scales showed similar associations with socio-economic variables as did diagnoses, although only a small amount of variance in symptom levels was explained by these variables. Considerable disablement was associated with symptom levels indicating distress but not reaching levels for formal diagnoses of anxiety or depression. Conclusions: Symptom scales provide parsimonious measures of psychological distress and are appropriate for use in large-scale surveys of mental health and disablement. Declaration of interest: No conflict of interest. Funding detailed in Acknowledgements.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)325-330
    Number of pages6
    JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
    Volume177
    Issue numberOCT.
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2000

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