Stress and mental illness amongst Samoan adults (16+) living in New Zealand: measuring levels of psychological distress and mental illnesses and exploring medical and non-medical treatment preferences.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
The current study looked at levels of stress, psychological distress and rates of mental health difficulties among Samoan adults aged 16+ living in New Zealand, and explored their preferences for medical and non-medical treatments. Stress measures used were based on notions of fa’aSamoa (Samoan worldviews) with four main themes: Relationship Stress (RS), Financial Stress (FS), Student’s Academic Stress (SAS) and Parent’s Stress for the Children’s Education (PSCE). An online survey was completed by 438 participants. Findings indicated that 25.8% (N = 96) of participants experienced high-very high levels of psychological distress in the past four weeks, and 17.2% (N = 58) of participants reported experiencing mental health difficulties in the past 12 months. High levels of stress were significantly associated with high levels of psychological distress for all four measures: RS = F(2, 138.175) = 58.0, p<.001; FS = F(2, 369) = 10.38, p<.001; SAS = F(2, 42.39) = 20.36, p<.001; PSCE = F(2, 112.68) = 8.25, p<.001. As expected high levels of psychological distress were related to reported experiences of a mental health difficulty F(2, 334) = 34.16, p<.001. Relationship Stress was also significantly related to reported experiences of a mental health difficulty t(334) = -6.03, p<.001. For participants who experienced a mental health difficulty in the past 12 months, a total of 74.1% (N = 45) accessed both medical (29.31%) and non-medical (25.86%) forms of treatment. Participants who did not experience a mental health difficulty (72.2%) (N = 200) showed a preference for a combination of both medical and non-medical treatments. Overall, almost all participants accepted the use of macronutrients as an alternative treatment for stress and mental health difficulties (98.3%) (N = 297).