Appendix 3: Epidemiological Surveys Of Remote Aboriginal Communities Showing Scarcity Of Anxiety Disorders. 1

Psychiatric Assessment in Remote Aboriginal Communities of Central Australia
TABLE II. Conclusions and Key Statements on Anxiety Neurosis, Phobic Neurosis, and Obsessive Compulsive Neurosis in All Surveys of Aboriginal Townships.

  • Cawte, J. 1964: Kalumburu. Western Australia; population 300. . No cases .specifically ;identified as anxiety neurosis phobic neurosis, or compulsive neurosis.
  • Kidson, M. A. 1967: Yuendumu. Central Australia. population 650. The symptom neuroses anxiety states phobias obsessive compulsive states and the rest are conspicuously absent.
  • Nurcombe, G. and Cawte, J., 1967 Mornington Island .North Queensland; population 280 children.
    Most striking of all is the scarcity of disorder with overt psychoneurotic symptomatology There were no individuals with well-evolved obsessive compulsive,phobic, or dissassociative syndromes or with free-floating anxiety states.
  • Kidson, M A. and Jones, 1. H., 1968 Warburtun Range, Western Desert, population 441.
    No syndromes clearly resembling Western classical neurosis-anxiety states, phobic states or obsessive-compulsive states were detected.
  • Cawte. J, 1972, Mornington Island, ,North Queensland; population 190 adults.
    No cases specifically diagnosed as anxiety neurosis, phobic neurosis or obsessive-compulsive neurosis, but the common Maigri syndrome and preoccupation was recognized to have anxiety,phobic and obsessive-compulsive features – hand washing and mouth washing removed the spirit contamination incurred by poaching on the estate of a rival clan.
  • Jones, I.H., 1972, Jagalong and Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia, population 113.
    Obsessive neurosis has yet to be seen and free-floating anxiety was only present in one of the most sophisticated members of the most sophisticated mission.
  • Morice, R.D. 1976, Neo-traditional desert outstation, Central Australia, population 90
    (Investigation into this isolated group’s ‘language of psychiatry’.
    There was an apparent absence of true free-floating anxiety. No terms suggestive of anankastic personality disorder or of obsessive compulsive neurosis were detected.
  • This survey: Five year survey of Aboriginal townships of North Australia, population 10 500.
    No single case of phobic or obsessive compulsive neurosis, as Westerners understand it, was encountered. Anxiety neurosis was found in only ten acculturated or physically ill patients.

1Source: Eastwell (15)