Positive ageing: resilience and Indigenous grandmothers raising grandchildren

Kilcullen, M.L., Swinbourne, A., and Cadet-James, Y. (2009) Positive ageing: resilience and Indigenous grandmothers raising grandchildren. In: Combined Abstracts of 2009 Psychology Conferences . p. 196. From: 1st Joint Conference of the APS Psychology and Ageing Interest Group and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists Faculty of Psychiatry of Old Age, 12-14 November 2009, Gold Coast, Qld, Australia.

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As psychologists, we have been encouraged to interact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in a different way than other community members. Differences between communities are highlighted in order to outline the uniqueness of the Indigenous experience. While much can be learned from exploring uniqueness, it is important to recognise similarities between communities. Delineation and separateness between communities has resulted in some professionals experiencing apprehension when considering interacting with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. While differences are acknowledged, identifying similarities may enhance therapeutic alliance and thus health outcomes. Better health outcomes may also be produced by identifying similarities, as it may facilitate the use of current therapeutic tools. The current study uses a positive psychology framework in order to identify an individual's strengths. The framework encourages the identification of strengths so that these may be amplified to enhance quality of life. This framework includes factors that encompass three themes: positive subjective experience, positive individual traits, and positive group level interaction. The design of the study included interviewing seven Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander grandmothers in a parenting role. Grandmothers were interviewed in order to identify factors that affected their resilience. Analysis was conducted on qualitative interview data using a grounded theory method. Grandmothers described positive subject experience factors as acceptance of life situations, spiritual belief and cultural connections. Positive individual traits included self-reliance, and implementing problem-solving skills and flexibility of responses. Positive group level interactions included developing and maintaining social networks, maintaining traditional kinship structure, participating in traditional adoption and employment. Similarities in aspects of strength and resilience can be seen between the factors identified by the grandmothers and those of other community members. Understanding and working with these similarities may bring about a meaningful starting point to facilitate successful therapeutic interactions and alliances. As these older Indigenous women provide a link between generations through their connectedness to traditional knowledge and support mechanisms, supporting these women is crucial to the improvement of the health and well-being of the Indigenous community by the growing up of 'healthier' children.

Item ID: 24987
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
ISBN: 978-0-909881-40-5
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Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2014 05:22
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 40%
20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200201 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies @ 30%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health @ 30%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Determinants of Health @ 30%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified @ 30%
92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920205 Health Education and Promotion @ 40%
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