Psychological distress among Australian welfare recipient job seekers

Helmes, Edward, and Fudge, Melody-Anna (2017) Psychological distress among Australian welfare recipient job seekers. Australian Journal of Psychology, 69 (2). pp. 106-111.

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Abstract

Objective: The frequency of psychological distress amongst welfare recipient job seekers in Australia has largely been neglected by researchers and social policy experts. A link between a high level of psychological distress and reduced capacity to work has recently been identified. This is of significant concern as welfare recipients are increasingly expected to participate in programmes in exchange for their welfare payments. The objective of this project was to estimate the frequency of psychological distress amongst this population and to identify characteristics associated with an increased risk of distress.

Method: A sample of 519 income support job seekers aged 15-64 years was interviewed using the Kessler Psychological Distress scale.

Results: Forty-five per cent of the sample met the clinical criteria for psychological distress and were deemed likely to have a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 4th ed., (DSM-IV) diagnosis of depression and/or anxiety. Several risk factors for psychological distress were identified, including being aged between 40 and 54 years, being female, and being classed as long-term unemployed.

Conclusions: Findings from this study now provide some Australian figures on the frequency of psychological distress amongst welfare recipient job seekers. The implementation of social policy changes in intervention programmes is recommended to improve the psychological well-being of welfare recipient job seekers in Australia and ensure their capacity to meet income support obligations.

Item ID: 50447
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1742-9536
Keywords: depression, job seekers, psychological distress, social policy, unemployment, welfare
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 09:07
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health @ 100%
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