The self-reported personal wellbeing of a sample of Australian injecting drug users

Authors


Paul Dietze, Centre for Population Health, Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical and Public Health Ltd, 85 Commercial Road, Melbourne, Vic. 3004, Australia. E-mail: pauld@burnet.edu.au

ABSTRACT

Aims  To examine the self-reported personal wellbeing of a sample of Australian injecting drug users (IDU) using a standardized instrument and determine the key correlates of variations in self-reported personal wellbeing.

Design, setting and participants  Cross-sectional survey of 881 Australian IDU.

Measurements  Self-reported personal wellbeing collected using the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI).

Findings  IDU scored significantly lower than the general Australian population on the PWI and all subscales. Lower PWI scores were associated with a range of socio-demographic, drug use and other health and social characteristics. Across all PWI subscales, lower personal wellbeing scores were associated with unemployment, past 6-month mental health problems and more frequent injecting (all P < 0.05).

Conclusions  The PWI is sufficiently sensitive to distinguish between IDU and the general population, and to identify key correlates of PWI among IDU. Some domains canvassed within the scale, such as health, standard of living and life achievements, are well within the scope of current intervention strategies, such as pharmacotherapy maintenance treatment and housing and employment support services. This suggests that the PWI could be useful in clinical settings by allowing structured identification of the areas of a person's life to be addressed as a part of a treatment regimen. In order to inform targeted prevention and intervention efforts, longitudinal studies of PWI and its correlates among IDU are required.

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