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Results

More than 1600 people responded to the Relationships Australia online survey in August 2018.  Around three-quarters of survey respondents (77%) identified as female, with more females than males responding in every age group (figure 1).  Eighty-four per cent of survey respondents were aged between 20 and 59 years, and more than 55 per cent of respondents comprised women aged between 20 and49 years (inclusive).

As for previous surveys, the demographic profile of survey respondents remains consistent with our experience of the groups of people that would be accessing the Relationships Australia website.

 

Total possible scores on the Distress Questionnaire scale range from 5 to 25, with higher scores indicating greater psychological distress.  A cut point of ≥ 11 is used to screen for most common mental disorders, whereas a cut point of ≥ 14 is chosen for increased specificity in applications where a clinical case finding is required.

On average, survey respondents reported a score of 15.1.  Women reported higher psychological distress on the Distress Questionnaire (15.2), when compared to the average score observed for men (14.7).  Younger survey respondents were more likely to report higher distress scores when compared older survey respondents.

While women and young people also reported higher distress on the Distress Questionnaire in the study by Batterham and colleagues (2016), on average, monthly survey respondents reported significantly higher levels of distress across all categories of gender and age.

More than four-fifths (85%) of female survey respondents and four-fifths (80%) of men reported scores on the Distress Questionnaire above the specified score for screening for psychological distress.  More than two-thirds (67%) of women and three-fifths (62%) of men reported scores above the specified cutoff score used to indicate clinical levels of distress (table 1).

Table 1. Psychological distress by gender, Number of

respondents above the Distress Questionnaire cutoff scores

 

Psychological distress

Cutoff ≥ 11

Cutoff ≥ 14

 

%

%

Female

84.60

67.11

Male

79.66

62.15

Total

82.77

65.67

 

Psychological distress was associated with social identification (figure 2).  Survey respondents who reported higher scores on the Distress Questionnaire were less likely to agree that they identified with their neighbourhood.  One third (35%) of survey respondents reporting a score above the clinical cut-off score (≥14) and 32% of survey respondent reporting a score above the screening cut-off score (≥11) for psychological distress disagreed that they identified with their neighbourhood.  This compares with 23% of survey respondents who did not report psychological distress.

Relationships Australia State and Territory websites