Factors influencing the health behaviour of Indigenous Australians: perspectives from support people

Waterworth, Pippa, Pescud, Melanie, Braham, Rebecca, Dimmock, James, and Rosenberg, Michael (2015) Factors influencing the health behaviour of Indigenous Australians: perspectives from support people. PLoS ONE, 10 (11). e0142323.

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Disparities between the health of Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations continue to be prevalent within Australia. Research suggests that Indigenous people participate in health risk behaviour more often than their non-Indigenous counterparts, and that such behaviour has a substantial impact on health outcomes. Although this would indicate that reducing health risk behaviour may have positive effects on health outcomes, the factors that influence Indigenous health behaviour are still poorly understood. This study aimed to interview people who support Indigenous groups to gain an understanding of their views on the factors influencing health behaviour within Indigenous groups in Western Australia. Twenty nine people participated in the study. The emergent themes were mapped against the social ecological model. The results indicated that: (1) culture, social networks, history, racism, socioeconomic disadvantage, and the psychological distress associated with some of these factors interact to affect health behaviour in a complex manner; (2) the desire to retain cultural identity and distinctiveness may have both positive and negative influence on health risk behaviour; (3) strong social connections to family and kin that is intensified by cultural obligations, appears to affirm and disrupt positive health behaviour; (4) the separation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous social connection/networks that appeared to be fostered by marginalisation and racism may influence the effect of social networks on health behaviour; and (5) communication between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people may be interrupted by distrust between the groups, which reduces the influence of some non-Indigenous sources on the health behaviour of Indigenous people.

Item ID: 61570
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
Keywords: Indigenous Australians, support workers, social relationships, culture, health behaviour
Copyright Information: © 2015 Waterworth et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC grant LP100100150
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2020 23:06
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Determinants of Health @ 100%
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