Lack of association between drought and mental health in a cohort of 45-61 year old rural Australian women

Powers, Jennifer R., Dobson, Annette J., Berry, Helen L., Graves, Anna M., Hanigan, Ivan C. and Loxton, Deborah (2015) Lack of association between drought and mental health in a cohort of 45-61 year old rural Australian women. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 39 6: 518-523. doi:10.1111/1753-6405.12369


Author Powers, Jennifer R.
Dobson, Annette J.
Berry, Helen L.
Graves, Anna M.
Hanigan, Ivan C.
Loxton, Deborah
Title Lack of association between drought and mental health in a cohort of 45-61 year old rural Australian women
Journal name Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1753-6405
1326-0200
Publication date 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/1753-6405.12369
Volume 39
Issue 6
Start page 518
End page 523
Total pages 6
Place of publication Richmond, VIC Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: To evaluate the impact of drought on the mental health of rural Australian women and those in vulnerable sub-populations: women who were more isolated, poorer and less educated; and women who had histories of chronic disease or poor mental health.

Methods: Surveys were mailed in 1996, 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2008 to 6,664 women born between 1946 and1951 who were participating in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health. The surveys included the Mental Health Index of the Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form 36 (MHI). Drought was assessed by linking the latitude and longitude of women's place of residence at each survey to the Hutchinson Drought Index. Associations between MHI and drought were assessed using linear mixed-models.

Results: While 31% of the women experienced drought in 1998 and 50% experienced drought in 2007; experience of droughts was less common in the other years. Although drought varied from survey year to survey year, mental health did not vary with drought conditions for rural women or vulnerable sub-populations.

Conclusions: These findings are contrary to the long-held assumption that droughts increase mental health problems in Australia.

Implications: While similar results may not be true for men, empirical evidence (rather than assumptions) is required on associations between drought and mental health.
Keyword Mental health
Drought
Women
Vulnerable
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
 
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