Brotherhood of St Laurence

Library Blog - February 2024


Generational differences in mental health trends in the twenty-first century

Ferdi Botha et al, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 49 (120), December 2023 

Given the observed deterioration in mental health among Australians over the past decade, this study investigates to what extent this differs in people born in different decades?i.e., possible birth cohort differences in the mental health of Australians. Using 20 y of data from a large, nationally representative panel survey, we find strong evidence that cohort effects are driving the increase in population-level mental ill-health. Deteriorating mental health is particularly pronounced among people born in the 1990s and seen to a lesser extent among the 1980s cohort. There is little evidence that mental health is worsening with age for people born prior to the 1980s. The findings from this study highlight that it is the poorer mental health of Millennials that is driving the apparent deterioration in population-level mental health. Understanding the context and changes in society that have differentially affected younger people may inform efforts to ameliorate this trend and prevent it continuing for emerging cohorts.

Responsible AI: Your questions answered

Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML, University of Adelaide), 2023 

Three of the anchor points for responsible AI include ensuring AI systems are compliant with regulations and standards, that they’re created and used in alignment with organisational and societal values, and that they’re well governed and managed. Australia holds the title of the world’s most AI-hesitant nation, and the responsibility to change this outlook lies with those creating and implementing the technology. This path begins by recognising responsible AI as an indispensable need that not only mitigates risk but also increases citizen trust — especially when co-designed with the customers and communities the system affects.

Nick Graetz et al, Social Science & Medicine, Volume 340, January 2024. 

Investments in stable, affordable housing may be an important tool for improving population health, especially in the context of rising costs and evictions for American renters. In this study, we use linked administrative data to estimate the associations of rent burden and eviction with all-cause mortality.  To measure exposure to eviction, we further linked this dataset to 38 million eviction records between 2000 and 2016 using names and addresses.  We estimated the associations of rent burden and eviction with mortality using Cox proportional-hazards models and discrete-time hazard models adjusted for individual, household, neighborhood, and state characteristics, examining varying associations by cohort, race, gender, and eviction risk. Higher baseline rent burden, increases in rent burden during midlife, and evictions were all associated with increased mortality. Compared to a baseline rent burden of 30%, a burden of 70% was associated with 12% higher mortality. A 20-point increase in rent burden between 2000 and 2008–2012 was associated with 16% higher mortality through 2019. An eviction filing without judgment was associated with a 19% increase in mortality and an eviction judgment was associated with a 40% increase. Associations were larger for those at lower predicted risk of eviction. These findings reveal how rising costs and evictions are shaping mortality for American renters.

Peter Martin, Visiting Fellow, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University  

The Conversation, 23 January 23, 2024  

Why is Prime Minister Anthony Albanese suddenly so keen to deliver extra cost-of-living relief – keen enough to summon Labor members of parliament to Canberra for a briefing on Wednesday, followed by a National Press Club address on Thursday?


Follow the Money

The Australia Institute

Follow the Money podcast explains Australia’s big economic issues in plain English. We bust myths, dissect politics, interpret econobabble and help you sound really smart at your next dinner party, with host Ebony Bennett.

Grattan Institute Youtube

The Grattan Institute.

The Grattin Insittute's Youtube playlists cover disability, tax reform, migration, equity and housing amongst others.


Adapting to climate change - Minimising impacts of disasters on town and cities 

29 February 2024, 12.00-1.30pm AEDT, Webinar (Online) 

This webinar will explore the findings from AHURI Cities research project, Improving Australian climate change adaptation strategies: learning from international experiences. Discussion will focus on what Australia can do to protect and support communities, and their homes, to adapt to climate change and reduce the impacts of natural disasters.

The Australia Institute 

As the year draws to a close, the Australia Institute team has compiled a list of our favourite essential reads of 2023.

Critical Technology Tracker

Australian Strategic Policy Institute

Who is leading the critical technology race? Compare country and region to country across a range of technologies. Or explore critical technologies ranging from advanced ICT, AI, quantum and unique AUKUS technologies.

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