What Matters 2 Adults (WM2Adults): Understanding the Foundations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing

Gail Garvey, Kate Anderson, Alana Gall, Tamara L. Butler, Joan Cunningham, Lisa J. Whop, Michelle Dickson, Julie Ratcliffe, Alan Cass, Allison Tong, Brian Arley, Kirsten Howard

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Abstract

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience a greater range of health and social disadvantages compared to other Australians. Wellbeing is a culturally-bound construct, and to date, a national evidence base around the components of wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is lacking. Understanding and measurement of wellbeing for this population is critical in achieving health equity. This paper aims to identify and describe the foundations of wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults. This national qualitative study was underpinned by an Indigenist research approach which privileges the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults were purposively recruited from around Australia between September 2017 and September 2018 to participate in Yarning Circles, led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers. Yarning Circles were audio recorded, transcribed and analyzed. A Collaborative Yarning Methodology was used, which incorporated reflexive thematic analysis to identify and describe the foundations of wellbeing reported by participants. A total of 359 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults participated. Our analysis revealed five foundations of wellbeing: belonging and connection; holistic health; purpose and control; dignity and respect; and basic needs. These foundations were deeply interwoven by three interconnected aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life: family, community and culture. The findings of this study will substantially aid our efforts to develop a new wellbeing measure for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults. The iterative Indigenist methods used in this study provide a robust research methodology for conducting large-scale, nationally-relevant qualitative research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Policies and practices that are informed by our results have the potential to address outcomes that are meaningful for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6193
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Australian
  • Indigenous
  • Quality of life
  • Wellbeing

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