4720.0 - National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey: User Guide, 2014-15  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/05/2016   
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SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL WELLBEING


Overview

Several measures of wellbeing were collected in the 2014–15 NATSISS. The three measures described in this topic include:


Apart from these measures, information on cultural identification, removal from family and stressors may help to provide further understanding of social and emotional wellbeing. These topics are covered in the following chapters:

Overall life satisfaction

People aged 15 years and over were asked how satisfied they were with life as a whole, using a scale of 0–10. A prompt card was provided with a number scale with the words 'Not at all satisfied' above 0, and 'Completely satisfied' above 10. Responses could be provided in integers only and were output numerically as a value ranging from 0 to 10.

Psychological distress (Kessler-5)

The Kessler-5 (K5) measure of psychological distress is a subset of five questions from the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale-10 (K10). The K10 is a non-specific psychological distress scale consisting of 10 questions designed to measure levels of negative emotional states experienced by people in the four weeks prior to interview.

The 2014–15 NATSISS included questions from the K5 to provide a broad measure of people's social and emotional wellbeing. People aged 15 years and over were asked about how often in the four weeks prior to interview they felt:
  • nervous;
  • without hope;
  • restless or jumpy;
  • everything was an effort; and
  • so sad that nothing could cheer them up.

For each K5 question, an answer was provided using a five-level response scale, based on the amount of time a person reported experiencing the problem. The response scale was as follows:
  • all of the time;
  • most of the time;
  • some of the time;
  • a little of the time; or
  • none of the time.

A person may have also responded that they did not know or did not want to answer the question(s) (coded as 'refusal'). If a person answered none of the time or a mixture of none of the time, don't know or they did not want to answer for all K5 questions, they were skipped to later questions on happiness and energy levels.

People who answered the K5 questions with responses ranging from 'a little of the time' to 'all of the time' were asked whether there were any days in the four weeks prior to interview when they were totally unable to work or carry out normal activities because of their feelings. If so, they were then asked how many days were like that. A response from 1 to 28 was possible (this was output as 0 to 28 days).

People were also asked to think about the K5 questions and whether their feelings in the four weeks prior to interview happened:
  • more often than usual;
  • about the same as usual; or
  • less often than usual.

A person may have also responded that they did not know.

K5 score


Responses to the K5 questions were combined to form a K5 score, with a minimum possible score of 5 and the maximum possible score of 25. Low scores indicate low levels of psychological distress and high scores indicate high levels of psychological distress. Scores were grouped and output as follows:
  • low/moderate 5–11;
  • high/very high 12–25; or
  • Unable to determine.

'Unable to determine' was coded where there was more than one response of 'don't know' or 'did not want to answer' to the K5 questions.

Assistance seeking behaviour


People were asked whether in the four weeks prior to interview they needed to see a doctor or health professional about their feelings. A person was able to respond that they did not want to answer. If a person answered that they did need to see a doctor, they were asked how many times they had to see someone. A response from 1 to 99 was possible (this was output as 0 to 97 times).

Physical health issues


People were also asked how often physical health problems had been the main cause of the feelings. Responses were based on the following:
  • all of the time;
  • most of the time;
  • some of the time;
  • a little of the time; or
  • none of the time.

A person may have also responded that they did not know or did not want to answer the question(s) (coded as 'refusal').

Feelings of happiness and energy levels

The Short Form 36 (SF-36) is an international survey instrument containing questions which provide an indication of general health status. The SF-36 measures a range of concepts, including vitality (energy/fatigue) and mental health. Four questions from the SF-36 were included in the 2014–15 NATSISS.

People aged 15 years and over were asked about their feelings in the four weeks prior to interview and how often they:
  • felt calm and peaceful;
  • had been a happy person;
  • felt full of life; and
  • had a lot of energy.

For each question an answer was provided using the following response scale:
  • all of the time;
  • most of the time;
  • some of the time;
  • a little of the time; or
  • none of the time.

People may have also responded that they did not know or did not want to answer the question(s) (coded as 'refusal').

Comparison to the 2008 NATSISS

Overall life satisfaction is new in the 2014–15 NATSISS and is unable to be compared to 2008.