Prevalence of psychiatric disorders in rural South Australia

J. R. Clayer, A. C. McFarlane, C. L. Bookless, T. Air, G. Wright, A. S. Czechowicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of psychiatric disorders and use of medical services in a South Australian rural community. DESIGN: Survey based on structured self-administered questionnaires. SETTING: Riverland region of South Australia, between May and November, 1991. SUBJECTS: A probability sample of 1009 residents (71.1%) response stratified for age and sex (with replacement) aged 18 years and over from the State electoral roll. OUTCOME MEASURES: DSM-III-R-defined psychiatric disorders diagnosed by means of the University of Washington's Diagnostic Interview Schedule Screening Instrument (DISSI), physical disorders and use of health and allied services. RESULTS: Twenty-six percent had at least one psychiatric disorder in the six months before interview. Prevalence did not differ with sex or age, but was higher in the unemployed (P=0.0001). Those with a current psychiatric disorder were significantly more likely to report a lifetime physical disorder (p=0.0001). The most common disorders were major depression and dysthymia (10.8%), anxiety disorder (9.8%), phobic disorder (7.8%), alcohol abuse and dependence (7.0% and somatisation syndrome (5.3 During the year before interview, 88.5% of those diagnosed with a current psychiatric disorder had consulted a general practitioner and 4.2% a psychiatrist or psychologist. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of psychiatric disorders in the Riverland region was comparatively high. General practitioners were the primary care-providers for those with psychiatric disorders. These issues need to be addressed by service providers and health planners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-5, 128-9
JournalThe Medical journal of Australia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent Adult Aged Analysis of Variance Community Mental Health Services/statistics & numerical data Female Humans Male Mental Disorders/*epidemiology Middle Aged Physicians, Family Prevalence Probability Reproducibility of Results *Rural Health South Australia/epidemiology Surveys and Questionnaires Unemployment

Cite this