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1.  Oral health and social and emotional well-being in a birth cohort of Aboriginal Australian young adults 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:656.
Background
Social and emotional well-being is an important component of overall health. In the Indigenous Australian context, risk indicators of poor social and emotional well-being include social determinants such as poor education, employment, income and housing as well as substance use, racial discrimination and cultural knowledge. This study sought to investigate associations between oral health-related factors and social and emotional well-being in a birth cohort of young Aboriginal adults residing in the northern region of Australia's Northern Territory.
Methods
Data were collected on five validated domains of social and emotional well-being: anxiety, resilience, depression, suicide and overall mental health. Independent variables included socio-demographics, dental health behaviour, dental disease experience, oral health-related quality of life, substance use, racial discrimination and cultural knowledge.
Results
After adjusting for other covariates, poor oral health-related items were associated with each of the social and emotional well-being domains. Specifically, anxiety was associated with being female, having one or more decayed teeth and racial discrimination. Resilience was associated with being male, having a job, owning a toothbrush, having one or more filled teeth and knowing a lot about Indigenous culture; while being female, having experienced dental pain in the past year, use of alcohol, use of marijuana and racial discrimination were associated with depression. Suicide was associated with being female, having experience of untreated dental decay and racial discrimination; while being female, having experience of dental disease in one or more teeth, being dissatisfied about dental appearance and racial discrimination were associated with poor mental health.
Conclusion
The results suggest there may be value in including oral health-related initiatives when exploring the role of physical conditions on Indigenous social and emotional well-being.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-656
PMCID: PMC3176220  PMID: 21851641
2.  Australian Aboriginal Birth Cohort study: follow-up processes at 20 years 
Background
In 1987, a prospective study of an Australian Aboriginal Birth Cohort was established focusing on the relationships of fetal and childhood growth with the risk of chronic adult disease. However as the study is being conducted in a highly marginalized population it is also an important resource for cross-sectional descriptive and analytical studies. The aim of this paper is to describe the processes of the third follow up which was conducted 20 years after recruitment at birth.
Methods
Progressive steps in a multiphase protocol were used for tracing, with modifications for the expected rural or urban location of the participants.
Results
Of the original 686 cohort participants recruited 68 were untraced and 27 were known to have died. Of the 591 available for examination 122 were not examined; 11 of these were refusals and the remainder were not seen for logistical reasons relating to inclement weather, mobility of participants and single participants living in very remote locations.
Conclusion
The high retention rate of this follow-up 20 years after birth recruitment is a testament to the development of successful multiphase protocols aimed at overcoming the challenges of tracing a cohort over a widespread remote area and also to the perseverance of the study personnel. We also interpret the high retention rate as a reflection of the good will of the wider Aboriginal community towards this study and that researchers interactions with the community were positive. The continued follow-up of this life course study now seems feasible and there are plans to trace and reexamine the cohort at age 25 years.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-9-23
PMCID: PMC2761846  PMID: 19775475
3.  Development and preliminary validation of the 'Caring for Country' questionnaire: measurement of an Indigenous Australian health determinant 
Background
'Caring for Country' is defined as Indigenous participation in interrelated activities with the objective of promoting ecological and human health. Ecological services on Indigenous-owned lands are belatedly attracting some institutional investment. However, the health outcomes associated with Indigenous participation in 'caring for country' activities have never been investigated. The aims of this study were to pilot and validate a questionnaire measuring caring for country as an Indigenous health determinant and to relate it to an external reference, obesity.
Methods
Purposively sampled participants were 301 Indigenous adults aged 15 to 54 years, recruited during a cross-sectional program of preventive health checks in a remote Australian community. Questionnaire validation was undertaken with psychometric tests of internal consistency, reliability, exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory one-factor congeneric modelling. Accurate item weightings were derived from the model and used to create a single weighted composite score for caring for country. Multiple linear regression modelling was used to test associations between the caring for country score and body mass index adjusting for socio-demographic factors and health behaviours.
Results
The questionnaire demonstrated adequate internal consistency, test-retest validity and proxy-respondent validity. Exploratory factor analysis of the 'caring for country' items produced a single factor solution that was confirmed via one-factor congeneric modelling. A significant and substantial association between greater participation in caring for country activities and lower body mass index was demonstrated. Adjusting for socio-demographic factors and health behaviours, an inter-quartile range rise in caring for country scores was associated with 6.1 Kg and 5.3 Kg less body weight for non-pregnant women and men respectively.
Conclusion
This study indicates preliminary support for the validity of the caring for country concept and a questionnaire designed to measure it. This study also highlights the importance of investigating Indigenous-asserted health promotion activities. Further studies in similar populations are merited to test the generalisability of this questionnaire and to explore associations with other important Indigenous health outcomes.
doi:10.1186/1475-9276-7-26
PMCID: PMC2628914  PMID: 19094240
4.  Measuring emotional and social wellbeing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations: an analysis of a Negative Life Events Scale 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians experience widespread socioeconomic disadvantage and health inequality. In an attempt to make Indigenous health research more culturally-appropriate, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have called for more attention to the concept of emotional and social wellbeing (ESWB). Although it has been widely recognised that ESWB is of crucial importance to the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, there is little consensus on how to measure in Indigenous populations, hampering efforts to better understand and improve the psychosocial determinants of health. This paper explores the policy and political context to this situation, and suggests ways to move forward. The second part of the paper explores how scales can be evaluated in a health research setting, including assessments of endorsement, discrimination, internal and external reliability.
We then evaluate the use of a measure of stressful life events, the Negative Life Events Scale (NLES), in two samples of Aboriginal people living in remote communities in the Northern Territory of Australia. We argue that the Negative Life Events Scale is a promising assessment of psychosocial wellbeing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. Evaluation of the scale and its performance in other samples of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations is imperative if we hope to develop better, rather than more, scales for measuring ESWB among Indigenous Australians. Only then will it be possible to establish standardized methods of measuring ESWB and develop a body of comparable literature that can guide both a better understanding of ESWB, and evaluation of interventions designed to improve the psychosocial health of Indigenous populations and decrease health inequalities.
doi:10.1186/1475-9276-6-18
PMCID: PMC2203968  PMID: 18001479

Results 1-4 (4)