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Many factors influence an individual's social interaction. While social participation is to some degree a matter of choice, personal circumstances can affect interactions with others and involvement in social activities. Some groups in the community are at greater risk of disadvantage or social isolation compared to the rest of the population. Disabilities or long term health conditions which restrict everyday activities can be barriers to social participation. Similarly, the inability to understand or speak English can cause social isolation and limit interactions. Employment status and income level may influence the number of social networks a person has, while remoteness and population size can limit the opportunities for social interaction and access to services and support networks.
Selected Personal Stressors by Age, Queensland
In 2002, 13% of Queensland adults indicated having a core activity limitation, which was equal to the national average. Of all states and territories, the Australian Capital Territory had the lowest proportion (9%), while Tasmania had the highest (17%).
In Queensland, similar proportions of people with a disability or long term health condition were able to get support in time of crisis (90%), compared to those with no disability or long term health condition (96%). However, only 20% had participated in organised sport or physical recreation activities compared with 40% of those with no disability or long term health condition. Persons with disabilities or long term health conditions were also less likely to be able to easily get to places needed (76%) compared to others in the community (89%).
The majority (84%) of Queenslanders aged 18 years or over, consider themselves to be in good, very good or excellent health. The proportion of persons reporting fair or poor health generally increased with age, from 7% of those in the 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 years age groups to 38% of those aged 65 years or over. Persons with fair or poor health were less likely to have volunteered, less likely to feel safe, more likely to have experienced a personal stressor, and more likely to have a core activity limitation. They were also less likely to have access to a motor vehicle to drive and less likely to easily be able to get to places needed. These factors all impact on the ability to have social interaction.
Self Assessed Health Status by Age, Queensland
Queensland adults (58%) had the third lowest percentage of adults indicating an excellent or very good self assessed health status, ahead of South Australia (55%) and Tasmania (56%). The Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory had the highest proportions, (both 65%) of their adult populations indicating excellent or very good health.
Labour force status
Generally, employed persons were more likely to have family and community support, have access to motor vehicles to drive, be easily able to get to places and to have undertaken voluntary work than those who did not work. Those employed part-time were the most likely to have undertaken voluntary work during the previous 12 months.
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