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Youth Survey - Mission Australia

22 November 2004 at 12:11 pm
Staff Reporter
A national survey of around 8,500 young people, aged 11-24, has found that ‘alcohol and other drugs’, ‘bullying/emotional abuse’ and ‘coping with stress’ are the three issues most concerning to them.

Staff Reporter | 22 November 2004 at 12:11 pm


Youth Survey - Mission Australia
22 November 2004 at 12:11 pm

A national survey of around 8,500 young people, aged 11-24, has found that ‘alcohol and other drugs’, ‘bullying/emotional abuse’ and ‘coping with stress’ are the three issues most concerning to them, according to the community service organisation, Mission Australia.

When asked to rank a range of issues in level of importance to young people, ‘alcohol and other drugs’ was ranked most frequently in the top three by 43.5% of respondents – a slight increase from last year’s survey where 43.3% of people considered it of concern.

‘Bullying/emotional abuse’ was next most frequently ranked of top three importance by 36.3% of respondents – a significant increase from 2003, when 27.5% considered it an issue.
‘Coping with stress’ experienced a similar increase, ranked in the top three by 35.1% of respondents in 2004 and 24.2% in 2003.

In the previous two surveys, ‘depression and suicide’ were of most concern to respondents (55.8% in 2003, 52.6% in 2002), however, for the 2004 survey, this single category was divided in two – ‘suicide/self harm’ and ‘depression’ – which ranked 33.7% and 29.9% respectively.

Conducted on-line and through schools and colleges around the country, Mission Australia’s third national youth survey asked young people to rank, in level of importance, what issues were of concern to them.

Data was then aggregated and included items ranked one, two or three by respondents.

The survey also asked a series of questions, including ‘What do young people value?’, ‘Where do you turn for advice/support?’ and ‘What people/organisations do you most admire?’.

Other key results of the 2004 survey include:
– 46.2% of males ranked alcohol/drugs as an important issue compared with 41.5% of females;
– Asked for the first time in this survey, ‘What do young people value?’, 80.2% of respondents ranked ‘friendships/relationships’ of chief importance, followed at 46% with ‘being independent’ and 45.1% ‘feeling needed/valued’. 51% of females placed a high value on ‘feeling needed/valued’ compared to 37.5% of males.
– In answer to the same question, ‘Getting a job’ was listed in the ‘top three’ by 43.1% of males, compared to 25.2% of females.
– Females ranked ‘suicide/self harm’ as the second issue of importance (37.3%), with males ranking it in sixth position (29.1%).
– Asked to rank the people or places young people would turn for help, or advice and support, ‘friends’ were ranked most frequently in the top three by 86.1% of respondents (88.4% in 2003). ‘Parent/s’ were ranked as a top three support by 71.1% of respondents (71.3% in 2003), while ‘relative/family friend’ was listed by 62.7% of respondents (59.8% in 2003).
– In answer to the same question, ‘Internet’ and ‘magazines’ have both increased their importance as sources of information for young people – ‘Internet’ from 10.1% in 2002, to 15.4% in 2004; and ‘magazines’ from 12.8% in 2002, to 15.3% in 2004. ‘Internet’ is ranked more important by males (19.5%) to females (12.3%), while ‘magazines’ are considered important by more females (18%) than males (11.7%).
– There has been a considerable decline, across all ages and genders, in ‘school counsellor/guidance officer’ as a source of advice and support. In 2003, 27% of respondents considered it as important, in 2004, only 13.7% ranked it as such.
– When asked, ‘What three people/organisations do young people admire?’, 79% of respondents listed ‘family – parents, siblings and relatives’.

Mission Australia’s spokesperson, Anne Hampshire, says the increase in young people concerned about alcohol and other drugs, bullying and stress is troubling.

She says Mission Australia’s National Youth Survey shows that young people are contemplating some very serious issues at an early age
Of respondents to the survey, the vast majority (99%) were under 20.

She says the survey also shows is that, while young people are confronting these challenges, they’re also not afraid to talk about them with someone that’s close – either their friends, family or another relative – and that’s positive.

If you would like an electronic copy of the survey just send an email with the words Mission Australia Survey in the subject line to

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