Get access

Mental disorders, disability and health service use amongst Vietnamese refugees and the host Australian population


Zachary Steel, Center for Population Mental Health Research, Level 4, Health Services Building, Liverpool Hospital, Liverpool, NSW 2170, Australia.


Objective:  To compare the prevalence of common mental disorders, disability and health service utilization amongst Vietnamese refugees resettled in Australia for 11 years, with data obtained from a national survey of the host population.

Method:  A stratified multistage probability household survey of 1611 Vietnamese undertaken in the state of New South Wales was compared with data from 7961 Australian-born respondents. Measures included the CIDI 2.1 and the MOS SF-12.

Results:  The 12-month prevalence of anxiety, depression and drug and alcohol dependence amongst Vietnamese was 6.1% compared with 16.7% amongst Australians. Vietnamese with a mental illness reported higher disability but exhibited similar levels of mental health consultation. The overall service burden of mental disorders was lower for the Vietnamese.

Conclusion:  The findings suggest that refugee groups resettled for some time in Western countries may show sound mental health adaptation and do not necessarily impose a burden on general or mental health services.

Get access to the full text of this article