Relationship of social factors including trust, control over life decisions, problems with transport and safety, to psychological distress in the community

Anne W. Taylor, Catherine Chittleborough, Tiffany Gill, Helen Winefield, Fran Baum, Janet E. Hiller, Robert Goldney, Graeme Tucker, Graeme Hugo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Psychological distress encompasses anxiety and depression with the previous studies showing that psychological distress is unequally distributed across population groups. This paper explores the mechanisms and processes which may affect the distribution of psychological distress, including a range of individual and community level socioeconomic determinants. Methods: Representative cross-sectional data was collected for respondents aged 16+ from July 2008 to June 2009, as a part of the South Australian Monitoring and Surveillance System (SAMSS) using Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI). Univariate and multivariate analyses (n = 5,763) were conducted to investigate the variables that were associated with psychological distress. Results: The overall prevalence of psychological distress was 8.9%. In the multivariate model, females, those aged 16-49, respondents single with children, unable to work or unemployed, with a poorer family financial situation, earning $20,000 or less, feeling safe in their home some or none of the time, feeling as though they have less then total control over life decisions and sometimes experiencing problems with transport, were significantly more likely to experience psychological distress. Conclusions: This paper has demonstrated the relationship between low-income, financial pressure, less than optimal safety and control, and high-psychological distress. It is important that the groups highlighted as vulnerable be targeted in policy, planning, and health promotion and prevention campaigns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-473
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2012


  • Depression
  • Lifestyle
  • Population survey
  • Psychological distress
  • Public health epidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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