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4326.0.30.001 - Microdata: National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, Basic and Expanded Confidentialised Unit Record Files, 2007 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/04/2009   
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  • Quality Declaration - Summary



Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs) are released in accordance with the conditions specified in the Statistics Determination section of the Census and Statistics Act 1905. This ensures that confidentiality is maintained whilst enabling micro level data to be released. More information on the confidentiality practices associated with CURFs is available through the Microdata Entry Page.

For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, see ABS Institutional Environment.


Microdata from the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (SMHWB) is available in the form of a Basic CURF and an Expanded CURF. A detailed list of the data items and categories for the CURFs has been released on the ABS website in spreadsheet format as an attachment to the Technical Manual: National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, Confidentialised Unit Record Files (cat. no. 4326.0.30.002). Key differences between the data items for the two CURFs are also highlighted in the Technical Manual.

The survey provides information about the prevalence of selected mental disorders in the Australian adult population, the level of impairment associated with these disorders, physical conditions, and the use of health services, such as consultations with health practitioners or visits to hospital. The survey also provides information on the strength of social networks, caring responsibilities and a range of socioeconomic and demographic characteristics.


The survey was conducted from August to December 2007 and the CURFs released approximately fourteen months after enumeration. Other survey products include:

This is the second survey of this type conducted by the ABS, with the previous survey conducted in 1997. A CURF, 'Mental Health and Wellbeing of Adults, Australia, 1997', was released from the 1997 survey. More information is available via the Expected and available Microdata. Publications from the previous survey are also available from the ABS website.


The CURFs contain household and person level data (unit records), and finer levels of detail for data items than what is otherwise published. For more information on the level of detail available from the CURFs refer to the data item list.

The survey was designed primarily to provide estimates at the national level, ie Australia. Due to the higher than expected non-response rate, the RSEs for all estimates are somewhat larger than originally designed. Broad estimates may be available at the state level for the larger states, eg New South Wales. However, users should exercise caution when using estimates at this level due to high sampling errors. Note: the state/territory data item is only available on the Expanded CURF.

Due to a lower than expected response rate (60%) extensive non-response analyses were undertaken to assess the reliability of the survey estimates. As a result, adjustments were made to the weighting strategy. As non-response can vary across population characteristics, as well as across data items, users should exercise caution. Detailed information on survey methodology and non-response is provided in the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Users' Guide, 2007 (cat. no. 4327.0).

Steps to confidentialise the data available on the CURF/s are taken in such a way as to maximise the usefulness of the content while maintaining the confidentiality of respondents to ABS statistical collections. As a result, it may not be possible to exactly reconcile all the statistics produced from the CURF/s with published statistics.


This is the second survey conducted by the ABS in relation to mental health, with the previous survey conducted in 1997. The 2007 survey was designed to provide data that are internationally comparable, rather than to provide comparisons with the 1997 survey. Additionally, there have been a number of changes to the scope, design, collection, methodology and content. Therefore, care should be exercised when comparing this survey to the previous survey. Detailed information on comparisons between the two surveys is provided in the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Users' Guide, 2007 (cat. no. 4327.0).


To assist interpretation and understanding of the CURF microdata, these key sources should be consulted:
  • National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Users' Guide, 2007 (cat. no. 4327.0); and
  • Technical Manual: National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, Confidentialised Unit Record Files (cat. no. 4326.0.30.002).

    The Users' Guide includes information on the survey objectives, design, methodology, content, data quality, interpretation and comparability with the 1997 survey. The Technical Manual provides details on the content of the CURF files and a data item list, released as a spreadsheet attachment to the publication.

    Additionally, the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (cat. no. 4326.0) provides a summary of the main findings from the survey, 15 tables with footnoted data and the relative standard errors for these tables.


    CURF microdata are not available to the public without special access being granted. All CURF users are required to read and abide by the User Manual: Responsible of ABS CURFs. Details on how to apply for access to CURF microdata can be completed and submitted for approval by following the steps listed in the How to apply for Microdata web page, available from the ABS website. A full list of available CURFs can be viewed via the Expected and available Microdata.

    The Basic CURF can be accessed on CD-ROM and through the Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL). The Expanded CURF can only be accessed through the RADL. More detail regarding the types and modes of access to CURFs is available from the Microdata Entry Page.

    For queries about accessing the CURFs please contact the ABS Microdata Access Strategies Section:

    Phone: (02) 6252 7714

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