Racism, social resources and mental health for Aboriginal people living in Adelaide

Anna Ziersch, Gilbert Gallaher, Frances Baum, Michael Bentley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: This paper examines whether reported experience of racism by Aboriginal people living in Adelaide is negatively associated with mental health, and whether social resources ameliorate the mental health effects of racism. Methods: Face-to-face structured and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 153 Aboriginal people. Data on self-reported experiences of racism (average regularity of racism across a number of settings, regular racism in at least one setting), social resources (socialising, group membership, social support, talking/expressing self about racism), health behaviours (smoking, alcohol), socio-demographic (age, gender, education, fnancial situation) and mental health (SF-12 measure) are reported. Separate staged linear regression models assessed the association between the two measures of racism and mental health, after accounting for socio-demographic characteristics and health behaviours. Social resource variables were added to these models to see if they attenuated any relationship between racism and mental health. Results: The two measures of racism were negatively associated with mental health after controlling for socioeconomic factors and health behaviours. These relationships remained after adding social resource measures. Non-smokers had better mental health, and mental health increased with positive assessments of fnancial situation. Conclusion and Implications: Reducing racism should be a central strategy in improving mental health for Aboriginal people.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)231-237
    Number of pages7
    JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


    • Aboriginal
    • Discrimination
    • Mental health
    • Racism
    • Social resources


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