Psychological distress among older adolescents and young adults in Australia

Debra Rickwood, Edouard T. D'Espaignet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Youth mental health has been specially targeted in the National Health Goals and Targets process for mental health. The incidence of suicide among Australia's youth is one of the highest in the world. Yet there is little information on the mental health of young people in Australia. The most recent national data come from the longitudinal Australian Youth Survey conducted by the Department of Education, Employment and Training. In the 1994 wave of the survey, 8350 adolescents and young adults aged between 16 and 24 were surveyed. Psychological distress was measured by the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ). High levels of psychological distress were evident, with girls being more distressed than boys at all ages. Forty-one per cent of girls were classified by the GHQ as mild or moderate cases, compared with 26 per cent of boys. Levels of distress peaked at age 17 for both boys and girls and tended to decrease with age for girls, but to be relatively stable over time for boys.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-86
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996


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