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Longitudinal Study: HILDA
Title: Evaluating How Mental Health Changed in Australia through the COVID-19 Pandemic: Findings from the 'Taking the Pulse of the Nation' (TTPN) Survey
Authors: Botha, Ferdi
Butterworth, Peter 
Wilkins, Roger 
Publication Date: Jan-2022
Pages: 558
Journal: International journal of environmental research and public health
Keywords: Cross-sectional studies
Mental Health
Surveys and Questionnaires
Psychological Distress
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on mental health at the level of the population. The current study adds to the evidence base by examining how the prevalence of psychological distress changed in Australia during the pandemic. The study also assesses the psychometric properties of a new single-item measure of mental distress included in a survey program conducted regularly throughout the pandemic. Data are from 1158 respondents in wave 13 (early July 2020) of the nationally representative Taking the Pulse of the Nation (TTPN) Survey. The questionnaire included the six-item Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6) and a new single-item measure of distress. Results show a significant increase in the prevalence of psychological distress in Australia, from 6.3% pre-pandemic to 17.7% in early July 2020 (unadjusted odds ratio = 3.19; 95% CI (confidence interval) = 2.51 to 4.05). The new single-item measure of distress is highly correlated with the K6. This study provides a snapshot at one point in time about how mental health worsened in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, by demonstrating the accuracy of the new single-item measure of distress, this analysis also provides a basis for further research examining the trajectories and correlates of distress in Australia across the pandemic.
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph19010558
Research collection: Journal Articles
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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