4363.0.55.001 - Australian Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2011-13  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/06/2013   
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Contents >> Health risk factors >> Family stressors



Family stressors (also known in other surveys as Personal Stressors) are events or conditions that occur in a person's life that may adversely impact on the individual's or their family's wellbeing. A stressor may occur directly, such as personally experiencing a serious illness, or indirectly, such as having a family member with a serious illness. In some instances personal stressors may have an ongoing impact, or limit the capacity of a person or family to live a satisfying and productive life.

Family stressors were defined as life events or conditions that may have been a problem for the respondent or anyone close to them in the 12 months prior to interview.


Information was obtained for persons aged 15 years and over in the NHS.


Respondents were asked whether they, a family member or someone close to them had experienced problems from any of the events listed below, and if so, which ones:

  • serious illness
  • serious accident
  • death of family member or close friend
  • mental illness
  • serious disability
  • divorce or separation
  • not able to get a job
  • involuntary job loss
  • alcohol or drug related problems
  • witness to violence
  • abuse or violent crime
  • trouble with the police
  • gambling problem
  • other.

More than one response was allowed.

Data items

The data items and related output categories for this topic are available in Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads page of this product.


Points to be considered in interpreting data for this topic include the following:
  • 'Anyone close to you' could refer to a family member, a friend or anyone else the respondent felt was close to them.
  • The effects of the event should have been felt by the respondent themselves, either directly or through a family member or friend who was experiencing the problem.
  • The effects of the problem must have been felt in the 12 months prior to interview, even if the problem occurred more than 12 months ago.
  • The interest was in the respondent's perception of whether the stressors had been a problem for them or not.

Comparability with 2007-08

Family stressors are considered directly comparable between the 2007-08 (known as Personal Stressors) and the 2011-12 NHS.

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