Cultural Identity as a Determinant of Health among South Sudanese in Sydney, Australia

Vaughan, Geraldine, Nyanhanda, Tafadzwa, Rawal, Lal, Kaphle, Sabitra, Kelly, Jenny, and Mude, William (2023) Cultural Identity as a Determinant of Health among South Sudanese in Sydney, Australia. Health and Social Care in the Community, 2023. 4981800.

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Background. Te issue of identity has been widely explored among migrant populations in western countries in the context of cultural integrations and acculturations. However, there is less evidence on identity as a determinant of health and social well-being. This study reports on identity as a determinant of health among the South Sudanese community who arrived as refugees through an Australian humanitarian program in the early 2000s.

Methods. A qualitative study was undertaken, underpinned by a phenomenological framework that characterised the lived experiences of adult South Sudanese in Sydney, Australia. Semi structured in-depth interviews explored how 26 participants identified themselves in Australia, including changes in their experiences over time, their social and general life situation in Australia, and how they felt perceived in Australia. Data were audio recorded using a digital voice recorder, transcribed verbatim, coded, and categorised into themes using interpretive thematic analysis.

Results. Participants described a multiplicity of interconnected domains that governed the negotiating and making sense of identity, in turn mediated by other interwoven personal and structural factors that shaped experience and perception. Expressions of hope, pride, and achievement were threaded through several of the interviews, particularly in relation to their children. There were also frustrations related to employment challenges and discrimination that limited identity ownership.

Conclusions. Te evolving and often conflicting factors identified by participants can shape their sense of belonging, integration, and social and mental well-being. A deeper, more nuanced understanding of bi-cultural identity within a strengths-based framework is needed, with improved partnerships and services to support and strengthen South Sudanese community integration, belonging, and acculturation in Australia.

Item ID: 81191
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2524
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2023 Geraldine Vaughan et al. Tis is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2023 23:30
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420699 Public health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2005 Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) > 200505 Migrant health @ 100%
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