The mental health of Australians 2

4.1 Prevalence of affective disorders in the Australian population

Page last updated: May 2009

In the 12 months prior to interview 6.2% of Australians aged 16-85 years had affective disorders (Table 4-1). Females were more likely than males to have affective disorders (7.1% in females compared to 5.3% in males).

Depressive episode was the most common type of affective disorder with a prevalence of around one in twenty-five (4.1%) in the population. Dysthymia and bipolar affective disorder were less common with an overall prevalence in the population of 1.3% and 1.8% respectively.

Table 4-1: Prevalence of 12-month affective disorders by affective disorder type and sex

Disorder

Males (%)

Females (%)

Persons (%)

Depressive episode
3.1
5.1
4.1
Dysthymia
1.0
1.5
1.3
Bipolar affective disorder
1.8
1.7
1.8

Any affective disorder

5.3
7.1
6.2

Note: Totals are lower than the sum of disorders as people may have had more than one type of affective disorder in the 12 months.