Knowledge and Resource Hub
26 February 2018

Factors relating to high psychological distress in Indigenous Australians and their contribution to Indigenous–non-Indigenous disparities

This study examined the factors associated with high psychological distress among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians and their contribution to the elevated distress prevalence among Aboriginal people. The prevalence of high-distress was found to have increased three-fold in Aboriginal versus non-Aboriginal participants, although the risk factors related to high distress were similar. Physical morbidity and physical disability had the strongest associations with high distress. High levels of distress affected 43.8% of Aboriginal and 20.9% of non-Aboriginal participants with severe physical limitations and 9.5% and 3.9% of those without limitations, respectively. The markedly elevated prevalence of high distress among older Aboriginal Australians appears largely attributable to the greater physical morbidity and disability in this population. The authors concluded that it was essential to address the determinants of physical morbidity and improve the integration of social and emotional wellbeing interventions into primary care and chronic disease management.
Australians appears largely attributable to greater physical morbidity and disability.