Rurality and mental health: an Australian primary care study

Campbell, A., Manoff, T., and Caffery, J. (2006) Rurality and mental health: an Australian primary care study. Rural and Remote Health, 6. 595. pp. 1-9.

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Introduction: Until recently, there has been a significant gap in the literature exploring the issues of the mental health needs for rural communities in Australia. In this study we investigated the prevalence of diagnosable psychological disorders in both a rural and a non-rural primary care sample in far north Queensland, Australia.

Method: In a previous study we had screened some 300 GP attendees, on a number of sociodemographic variables and measures of psychological wellbeing, from four rural GP practices and one regional GP practice. Of these, 130 participants agreed to further follow up. In this study, 118 of the participants were selected and contacted by phone to complete the Composite International Diagnostic Interview-Short Form (CIDI-SF). The CIDI-SF diagnosis was then analysed in relation to the sociodemographic indicators that had previously been collected.

Results: The prevalence of diagnosable mental health disorders in the rural sample was found to be higher in comparison with the regional urban sample. The sociodemographic factors of rural residence, gender, and length of residence were associated with having a CIDI-SF diagnosis.

Conclusion: Although there were a number of methodological limitations to this study, there did appear to be a significant relationship between rural location and the likelihood of receiving a CIDI-SF diagnosis. Why this might be the case is not clear, and we consider a number of explanations, but our finding suggests that further research in mental health should consider the issue of rurality as a key feature to be explored.

Item ID: 3861
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1445-6354
Keywords: mental health disorders; prevalence; rurality
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2009 05:28
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170199 Psychology not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences @ 100%
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