People living with psychotic illness 2010

Demographic characteristics of people with psychotic illness

Page last updated: November 2011

Many people living with psychotic illness are in relationships, study and care for children and others just like the rest of the population. They also experience particular disadvantages that, largely due to onset of illness in late adolescence and early adulthood, impact upon their educational outcomes.

Three-fifths (59.6%) of people being treated for psychosis in the public system are male.

Almost three-fifths (57.6%) were aged 35-64 years. Just 10.6% were under 25 years (figure 4).

Family relationships

One in ten males and one in four females with psychotic illness were currently married or in a de facto relationship.

Just over half (56.2%) of females had children of any age, with one quarter (23.6%) having dependent children living with them.

The proportion of males with children was significantly lower at 25.9% and only 5.5% had dependent children living with them.

In 14.7% of cases people were providing care to another person because of a disability, long term illness or due to old age (table 1).
  • This figure was higher for females than males, at 19.6% and 11.3% respectively.
  • It was also higher for the older age group.


One third (33.7%) of people with psychotic disorders had not attained a school certificate compared with 24.9% in the general population.

Almost one quarter (22.5%) had left school before Year 10.

Another third (31.5%) had completed their Year 12 qualification or leaving certificate.

About half (48.9%) of participants had completed a TAFE or trade certificate or higher post-school qualification (figure 5).

Almost one in five (18.4%) people with a psychotic illness reported difficulty with reading and/or writing.

One-fifth (20.8%) were enrolled in formal studies in the previous year.
  • Females were more likely to be studying (26.7% compared with 16.7% for males).
  • The younger age group (aged 18-34 years) were twice as likely to be enrolled in formal studies (29.0% and 14.7%). Top of page

Figure 4: Age profile of people with psychotic illness treated in public specialised mental health services

Refer to the following table for a text equivalent of figure 4: age profile of people with psychotic illness treated in specialised mental health services
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Text version of figure 4

AgeNumberProportion (%)
18 - 24 years4,64410.6
25 - 34 years12,54628.6
35 - 44 years11,89127.1
45 - 54 years9,62422.0
55 - 64 years5,11011.7

Table 1: Demographic characteristics of participants

Table 1 is presented as a list in this HTML version for accessibility reasons. It is presented as a table in the PDF version.

Proportion of demographic characteristics of participants:
  • Males - 59.6%
  • Born in Australia - 82.2%
  • Currently married or in de facto relationship - 17.1%
  • Main source of income government pension - 85.0%
  • Dependent children living at home, including step children - 12.8%
  • Caring for another with disability, long term illness or aged - 14.7%
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Figure 5: Educational qualification obtained

Refer to the following table for a text equivalent of figure 5: educational qualification obtained
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Text version of figure 5

QualificationPsychosis survey - proportion (%)General population - proportion (%)
Did not complete year 12, no post school qualification33.724.9
Year 12 certificate31.553.0
Post school qualification (trade certificate or higher)47.159.4