Social determinants of health: rural Aboriginal men and participatory action research in Queensland Australia

Wenitong, Mark, Tsey, Komla, McCalman, Janya, Fagan, Ruth, Baird, Leslie, Patterson, David, Baird, Bradley, Whiteside, Mary E., Cadet-James, Yvonne L., and Wilson, Andrew (2004) Social determinants of health: rural Aboriginal men and participatory action research in Queensland Australia. In: Proceedings of Discourses and Silences: indigenous peoples, risks and resistance. From: XI World Congress of Rural Sociology, July 2004, Trondheim, Norway.

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Abstract

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience higher levels of illness and premature death than the rest of the Australian population. They are also more likely to be incarcerated, experience family violence, have lower levels of education and employment, and suffer from excessive use of alcohol and other substances. Within the Indigenous population, men are faring worse than women as age-specific death rates for men are higher than for women in every age group and between the ages of 15 and 24, the rates are four times higher. For Indigenous people living in rural and remote settings, the situation is even more serious due to inadequate services, isolation, lack of employment opportunities and endemic alcohol and other drug misuse. Despite efforts to improve the situation over the last 30 years, evidence suggests deterioration in many aspects of Aboriginal health and wellbeing. Consequently, Aboriginal community leaders and activists have called for more innovative and empowering interventions that enhance people's capacity to take greater control and responsibility for their situation. This paper analyses a participatory action research (PAR) process which aims to engage and support the members of a rural Aboriginal men’s health group in Yarrabah, north Queensland to, in their own words 'take their rightful place in society'. The paper highlights the potential of participatory research approaches to enable Aboriginal men develop common understandings of their social circumstances as a basis for taking action to improve their situation. The findings of the study have important implications for: a) health promotion interventions in rural and remote Aboriginal settings; and b) the roles that academic researchers can play in supporting and adding value to community-driven initiatives to the mutual benefit of both parties.

Item ID: 7613
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
Keywords: Aboriginal men; health; men's group; participatory action research; rural; social determinants
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2010 04:36
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111712 Health Promotion @ 30%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society > 169901 Gender Specific Studies @ 20%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920399 Indigenous Health not elsewhere classified @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920413 Social Structure and Health @ 30%
92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920205 Health Education and Promotion @ 20%
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