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Australian Study of Health and Relationships

The challenge

The Australian Study of Health and Relationships (ASHR) is Australia’s most important study of sexual and reproductive health.

Conducted once a decade, it provides a snapshot of the sexual health and well-being of the Australian population and provides information essential for the development of policy and the delivery of sexual and reproductive health programs across Australia.

The project

Australia’s sexual and reproductive health has been monitored primarily by ASHR as it is Australia’s largest and most comprehensive survey of sexual health, behaviour, and attitudes. ASHR1 (data collection in 2001–2002) represented a major change for Australian sexual health research, which had until then been focused on studies of high-risk groups and young people. ASHR2 (2012–2013) documented important changes in the sexual and reproductive health and practices of the Australian population.

The third survey comes at a time of major change in social, technological and medical developments in society which affect the sexual and reproductive health of Australians.

The method

The Third Australian Study of Health and Relationships (ASHR3) will be conducted in 2022–2023 via a nationally representative survey of over 15,000 Australians aged 16–69 years. The survey will use international best-practice survey methodology of random digit dialing (RDD) of mobiles to achieve a representative sample via computer-assisted telephone interviewing.

The results

ASHR3 will provide current nationally representative prevalence estimates of sexual identity, sexual behaviours, uptake of dating websites and apps, relationship satisfaction and pleasure, sexual difficulties, pornography use, age at first sexual experience, sexually transmissible infections history and knowledge, contraception, pregnancies, sexual coercion, intimate partner violence and reproductive coercion, as well as attitudes, correlates and time trends over 20 years.

The impact

ASHR is Australia’s largest sexual and reproductive health survey. ASHR3 will show time trends over 20 years within the Australian population as well as provide new data on more contemporary sexual and reproductive health topics. Findings from ASHR3 will be used to inform and evaluate state and national sexual and reproductive health strategies, health promotion campaigns, and education initiatives.

Project funding

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)