Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescents and their attitudes and behaviours around relationships, contraception and pregnancy: lessons for policy and practice

Larkins, Sarah, Page, Priscilla, Kathryn, Panaretto, Melvina, Mitchell, Alberts, Valerie, McGinty, Sue, and Craig, Veitch (2009) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescents and their attitudes and behaviours around relationships, contraception and pregnancy: lessons for policy and practice. In: Proceedings of the 10th National Rural Health Conference , pp. 1-13. From: 10th National Rural Health Conference , 17-20 May 2009, Cairns, Queensland, Australia.

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Abstract

Aims: The “U Mob Yarn Up” project emerged from expressed needs of young Indigenous mothers at Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Service (TAIHS), and investigated attitudes and behaviours of young Indigenous people around relationships and pregnancy.

Method: An innovative consultative methodology and participatory action techniques were used. A Young Mums’ Group functioned as project designers, key participants and peer interviewers, and as a social support group. A multi-method design involved semi-structured interviews (individual and smallgroup) and a multimedia self-administered survey with peer assistance. 186 Indigenous students from 3 high schools and a homeless youth shelter, and 10 further young mothers took part.

Results: Key results from young mothers and never-pregnant young people will be summarised. These highlight the extremely disadvantaged backgrounds of the young women prior to pregnancy and the transformative effect of motherhood in terms of providing purpose for their lives and impetus for change (contingent upon adequate professional and psychosocial support). In addition, the educational aspirations and attitudes and behaviours around sexual relationships and contraceptive use of these young people will be discussed.

Implications: However, the main focus of this paper will be on the implications of the findings in terms of clinical practice for primary health care providers, and policy around sexual and reproductive health care and education for this population. For health care providers these include: the importance of providing sensitive and non-judgemental antenatal and postnatal health care; linking with local Young Mums’ Groups; facilitating access to the category of “good mothers”; increasing access for young Indigenous people to contraception, STI testing and abortion; and providing adequate and realistic family planning information for young people. For policy makers priorities include: the provision of broadly based and culturally appropriate sexuality education (through schools and other networks); further training and support for young mothers; programs to prevent violence and abuse within Indigenous families; and reinforcing broader pedagogical initiatives to increase the range of educational and vocational options for Indigenous young people.

Item ID: 5314
Item Type: Conference Item (Refereed Research Paper - E1)
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ISBN: 978-1-921219-15-3
ISSN: 14453363
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2009 23:33
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111708 Health and Community Services @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920207 Health Policy Evaluation @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920399 Indigenous Health not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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