"She'll be right, mate!": Do Australians take their health for granted?

Paul Harris, Asiyeh Salehi, Elizabeth Kendall, Jennifer Whitty, Andrew Wilson, Paul Scuffham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


INTRODUCTION Health consciousness highlights the readiness of individuals to undertake health actions and take responsibility for their health and the health of others. AIM To examine the health consciousness of Australians and its association with health status, health-care utilisation and sociodemographic factors. METHODS This quantitative cross-sectional study was a part of a larger project aiming to engage the general public in health-care decision-making. Adults from Queensland and South Australia (n=1529) were recruited to participate by a panel company. The questionnaire included the Health Consciousness Scale (HCS), health status, health-care utilisation, sociodemographic and socioeconomic variables. RESULTS The health consciousness of Australians was relatively low (mean score=21), compared to other international administrations of the HCS, and further investigations revealed that more health-conscious people tended to live in South Australia, be female and single, experience poorer physical and mental health and were more frequent users of health-care services. DISCUSSION The general approach to health in this sample of the Australian public may reflect 'here and now' concerns. It appears that an attitude of 'she'll be right, mate' prevails until a change in an individual's health status or their exposure to the health system demands otherwise. These findings need to be investigated further to see if they are confirmed by others and to clarify the implications for primary health programmes in Australia in redressing the public's apparent apathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-288
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Primary Health Care
Issue number3
Early online date25 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


  • Health consciousness health status health-care utilization Australia

Cite this