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The Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Well-Being: Common psychological symptoms and disablement

  • Ailsa Korten (a1) and Scott Henderson (a1)
Extract
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.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Ailsa Korten, Centre for Mental Health Research, The Australian National University, Canberra, A.C.T. 0200, Australia; e-mail: ailsa.korten@anu.edu.au
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Declaration of interest

No conflict of interest. Funding detailed in Acknowledgements.

Footnotes
References
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The Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Well-Being: Common psychological symptoms and disablement

  • Ailsa Korten (a1) and Scott Henderson (a1)
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