4906.0.55.003 - Personal Safety Survey, Australia: User Guide, 2016  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/11/2017   
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Information was obtained from men and women aged 18 years and over in the 2016 PSS.


The PSS collects two questions asking respondents to make an assessment of their health and life.

The self-assessed health question is a general assessment of the respondents own health, against a five point scale from excellent through to poor.

Overall life satisfaction is a summary measure of subjective well-being against a scale ranging from zero through to ten, zero being not at all satisfied and ten completely satisfied. It measures a person’s perceived level of life satisfaction in general and doesn’t take into account specific illnesses or problems the person may have.


Respondents were asked whether in general they felt their health was:

  • Excellent
  • Very good
  • Good
  • Fair
  • Poor

They were then asked how satisfied they were with life as a whole, using a scale of 0 –10. A prompt card was provided that displayed a number scale with the words 'Not at all satisfied' above 0 and 'Completely satisfied' above 10.


The data items and related output categories for this topic are contained within the SPS Level – Health & Disability tab in the data item list which is available in Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads tab of this product.


Data for this topic has been collected to provide further analytical possibilities around the relationship between general health / life satisfaction and characteristics of people who experience violence.

Data from this topic should not be used to only produce population estimates of health statistics. The data should only be used in conjunction with other data related to experiences of violence collected in this survey.


Points to be considered when interpreting data for this topic include the following:
  • These are subjective questions. Perceptions may be influenced by any number of factors which may be unrelated to health or overall life satisfaction which may reflect momentary or short-term feelings or circumstances (rather than usual feelings or circumstances).
  • The general health and life satisfaction data collected in this survey is not designed to produce estimates about health or feelings of life satisfaction in the population. The general health and life satisfaction data produced should therefore only be used in conjunction with other violence prevalence data.


This topic was first introduced in the 2012 PSS.

Self assessed health status data is comparable between 2012 and 2016.

Overall life satisfaction is not comparable between 2012 and 2016 due to a change in methodology in 2016 to collect a rating based on a number rather than specific words. The 2012 categories were:
    1. Delighted
    2. Pleased
    3. Mostly satisfied
    4. Mixed
    5. Mostly dissatisfied
    6. Unhappy
    7. Terrible

The change to this question in 2016 was to make it consistent with what is asked in more recent ABS surveys, such as the General Social Survey 2014. As such, it is now aligned with the question used as part of assessing against the OECD Better Life Index.