18 Dec 2017

Aussies’ wellbeing at its highest since 2013, but high anxiety still impacting one in four

The wellbeing of Australians has hit its highest point in four years, driven mainly by lower levels of anxiety, according to research released today by NAB.

NAB’s Q3 Wellbeing Report revealed that wellbeing was highest among widows, men and women over the age of 50, Tasmanians and two-person households, and lowest among single people, labourers, 30-49 year olds, those earning less than $35,000 per year, and young women.

NAB Chief Economist Alan Oster said that while anxiety had improved, it was still affecting a significant number of Australians

“This research indicates that while Australians are overall less anxious, one in four report high anxiety,” Mr Oster said.

“We also see a correlation between wellbeing and income, with wellbeing the highest for those in the top income group, and the lowest among those earning the least.”

Teachers, parents disagree on kids’ anxiety

NAB’s research also identified discrepancies in how parents and teachers perceive children’s anxiety and coping mechanisms.

“Parents and teachers agree anxiety is much lower in primary school aged children than high school children, particularly girls,” Mr Oster said.

“What’s interesting is that teachers report higher levels of anxiety in children than parents do, except for high school aged girls where they are in broad agreement.”

NAB’s research also finds children in high school aren’t coping with their anxiety as well as primary school children, particularly girls.

“This is a problem that needs to be addressed, particularly if it’s interfering with the development of young women” Mr Oster said.

Over 50s still soaring

Staying true to trend, over 50s men and women continue to report the highest levels of wellbeing.

“Over 50s’ wellbeing has been climbing in trend terms and they have rated all aspects of their wellbeing better, especially in regards to anxiety,” Mr Oster said.

Factors affecting anxiety

With one in four Australians reporting high anxiety, NAB’s research asked respondents what they believe would help reduce their anxiety.

Around one in four believed getting more rest or sleep and improving their financial position would help most.

Women also reported that they would benefit from having more time.

“We found by gender, almost twice as many women said having more time for themselves would have helped them than did men,” Mr Oster said.

About the NAB Australian Wellbeing Index:

The NAB Australian Wellbeing Index is based on survey participants’ responses to four questions related to their life satisfaction, life worth, happiness and anxiety.

Download the Q3 NAB Wellbeing Index

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