1387.3 - Queensland in Review, 2003  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/11/2003  Ceased
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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.

Personal Stressors

Serious illness was the highest individual reported personal stressor for all age groups over 35 years, with over one in five persons experiencing serious illness (either themselves, or to someone close to them) in the previous 12 months for each of these age groups. The proportions of persons affected by alcohol or drug related problems declined with increasing age, as did divorce or separation and the inability to get a job.

Younger and Older Persons

The highest reported personal stressor for Queensland young adults (aged 18 to 24 years) was not being able to get a job. There were 99,000 young adults (27%) who reported experiencing difficulty in this area during the previous 12 months. Other frequently report personal stressors for this age group included death of a close family member (17%) and divorce or separation (16%).

Older persons (aged 65 years or over) had the highest proportion of any age group that indicated having no personal stressors in the last 12 months (53%). This is despite having the highest proportion of people indicating the personal stressor of serious illness in the previous 12 months. Older persons had the equal lowest rate for having experienced the death of a family member or close friend.

Selected Personal Stressors by Age, Queensland
Graph - 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
Graph - 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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