Assessing the Reliability and Validity of the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Population

Date

2019

Authors

Brinckley, Makayla-May

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Abstract

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the first people of Australia. Consequences of colonisation and ongoing societal marginalisation and racism has led to significant health and wellbeing impacts on this population. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people view health through a Social and Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) framework. There are currently no measures of SEWB, with proxy measures used instead. The Kessler Psychological Distress Scale is a measure of psychological distress often used as a proxy for measuring SEWB. This thesis uses mixed-methods and best-practice approach to assess the reliability and validity of the culturally-modified, 5-item Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K5) in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. The results of this study found good internal consistency, construct validity, convergent validity, and divergent validity. The K5 was also found to have good clinical utility in indicating depressive and anxiety disorders at a cut-off of 10. Assessment of K5 face validity indicates that the measure achieved face validity for psychological distress but fails to accurately measure SEWB. Thus, the K5 is a valid measure of psychological distress for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but the measure fails as a measure of SEWB.

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Keywords

Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Indigenous, Kessler, K5, wellbeing, mental health, validity, reliability, ROC curve

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Type

Thesis (Honours)

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DOI

10.25911/W9J3-PR55

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