Table 3

Mental health experiences by sample characteristic and survey, described with the number of respondents (weighted proportion)

CharacteristicSubgroupPoor caregiver mental health (K6)*Perceived negative impact on caregiver mental health†Perceived negative impact on child mental health†
June 2020 N=2020September 2020 N=1434July 2021 N=2508June 2020 N=2020September 2020 N=1434July 2021 N=2508June 2020 N=3411September 2020 N=2553July 2021 N=4327
OverallAll264 (17.4)247 (19.5)541 (18.9)949 (47.4)708 (50.3)1490 (60.0)1055 (25.6)884 (33.1)1807 (44.0)
Child
 Age in years0–481 (12.8)101 (19.9)330 (24.2)
5–11440 (32.3)414 (37.3)789 (46.9)
12–17534 (38.2)369 (43.7)688 (51.5)
 GenderF525 (25.1)438 (32.8)876 (45.5)
M530 (26.0)446 (33.4)931 (42.7)
Caregiver
 GenderF153 (18.3)110 (18.0)338 (20.5)489 (49.6)410 (53.9)920 (63.7)512 (25.9)521 (35.1)1099 (45.7)
M111 (15.8)137 (21.8)203 (16.6)460 (44.1)298 (44.7)570 (54.7)543 (25.1)363 (30.0)708 (41.6)
 Sole carerYes137 (36.1)100 (36.5)268 (32.6)199 (42.7)99 (36.2)335 (44.3)190 (24.3)144 (27.1)397 (30.9)
No127 (10.2)147 (14.8)273 (15.0)750 (49.2)609 (54.1)1155 (64.5)865 (26.0)740 (34.8)1410 (47.9)
 Education‡Y1255 (21.7)61 (26.9)124 (15.8)141 (40.2)98 (42.9)211 (47.3)148 (21.2)115 (24.3)293 (39.2)
Cert.73 (21.4)65 (19.9)152 (20.0)244 (48.7)204 (56.1)418 (64.6)293 (28.6)264 (34.9)524 (51.1)
Uni.136 (15.8)121 (16.9)265 (17.5)564 (48.8)406 (49.6)861 (61.5)614 (25.3)505 (34.9)990 (41.8)
 Born outside AustraliaYes58 (12.5)40 (11.7)124 (16.9)243 (42.4)169 (49.2)379 (60.0)253 (23.0)184 (32.0)396 (40.2)
No198 (18.9)198 (21.0)405 (19.6)694 (49.4)530 (50.8)1080 (60.1)789 (26.8)695 (33.7)1375 (45.3)
 Home language other than EnglishYes80 (20.9)79 (22.5)176 (25.1)172 (40.6)154 (47.6)337 (58.9)178 (21.7)181 (31.7)352 (39.5)
No184 (16.3)168 (18.6)365 (17.0)777 (49.4)554 (51.1)1153 (58.9)877 (26.8)703 (33.5)1455 (45.4)
 Socioeconomic
  SEIFA quintile (1=most disadvantage, 5=least disadvantage)141 (22.1)35 (20.7)97 (26.1)86 (41.4)77 (47.4)172 (56.0)115 (27.1)90 (31.3)223 (42.0)
250 (20.5)53 (25.6)99 (21.4)125 (46.1)117 (51.3)215 (60.6)133 (21.1)157 (32.6)262 (45.1)
349 (16.2)41 (19.3)114 (17.9)186 (53.1)129 (51.9)295 (58.7)191 (27.3)170 (34.5)350 (40.8)
466 (17.9)54 (20.8)108 (16.0)205 (44.1)149 (49.6)350 (62.4)242 (26.6)172 (31.0)392 (42.8)
558 (9.4)64 (11.1)123 (16.5)347 (51.7)236 (51.0)458 (67.1)374 (26.3)295 (35.7)580 (52.9)
  Low income (<$A1000)§Yes69 (27.5)58 (31.3)171 (29.5)120 (53.4)89 (45.6)230 (51.2)111 (26.1)133 (33.3)271 (35.3)
No165 (15.5)167 (17.3)326 (16.6)686 (45.2)507 (49.2)1064 (61.0)774 (24.8)631 (32.4)1292 (44.6)
  Could not afford essential items¶Yes359 (37.4)156 (38.4)341 (35.5)263 (50.3)165 (44.8)469 (59.2)270 (26.5)236 (33.9)586 (42.6)
No96 (8.8)91 (12.3)200 (11.2)686 (46.2)543 (52.4)1021 (60.4)785 (25.1)648 (32.8)1221 (44.7)
 Pandemic experience
  Job/income loss**Yes96 (23.7)93 (27.5)218 (28.8)306 (51.0)224 (59.5)486 (71.1)305 (25.0)297 (40.7)613 (55.8)
No168 (15.1)288 (16.4)323 (15.3)643 (46.1)484 (46.8)1004 (55.9)750 (25.7)587 (30.2)1194 (39.7)
  Current lockdown††Yesn/a83 (24.0)353 (23.5)n/a240 (58.1)867 (62.9)n/a355 (44.1)1114 (49.6)
No264 (17.4)164 (17.7)188 (13.3)949 (47.4)468 (47.3)623 (56.4)1055 (25.6)529 (28.7)693 (37.3)
  State as a proxy for total length of lockdown (Vic=most, other=least)††Vic85 (17.7)93 (23.3)200 (25.1)284 (48.9)266 (57.5)483 (66.4)321 (23.8)389 (42.5)626 (51.4)
NSW96 (21.6)78 (18.6)188 (22.0)307 (49.2)213 (49.0)477 (60.8)306 (25.9)267 (34.4)603 (48.9)
Other83 (12.4)76 (16.6)153 (11.2)358 (43.9)229 (44.1)530 (54.4)428 (26.9)228 (21.0)578 (33.7)
  • Proportions were weighted using national demographic distributions for caregiver age, gender, family structure (sole caregiving, number of children and any under 5 years), state/territory and Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas Index of Relative Disadvantage (SEIFA).

  • *Kessler-6 (K6) dichotomised into a binary ‘poor mental health’ (total score 19 or more) compared with not (total score 6–18).

  • †Dichotomised into negative (‘small negative/large negative’) compared with positive (‘none/small positive/large positive’).

  • ‡Highest education coded as year 12 or less (up to the end of high/secondary school; Y12); vocational training certificate (‘cert.’); or university degree (‘uni’).

  • §Low income defined according to Australian definitions of income poverty. Missing 767 caregivers who preferred not to report income.

  • ¶Any one or more of mortgage or rent; electricity, gas, water bills; food; healthcare; prescription medicines; home or car insurance; mobile phone bills; internet, in the last month.

  • **Job loss by one or two adults, or reduction in income, due to COVID-19.

  • ††No Australians were in lockdown for the June 2020 poll, so the proportion is for the whole cohort (see ‘overall’ at top of table). For the September 2020 poll, only residents of metropolitan Melbourne in the state of Victoria were in lockdown (Y) compared with all other Australians (N). In July 2021, many states/territories were going in and out of lockdown, and this question was asked directly (Y/N). Overall, Victorians experienced the longest total lockdown, followed by NSW, followed by other states and territories.

  • NSW, New South Wales; Vic, Victoria.