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1.  Patterns and correlates of self-reported racial discrimination among Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults, 2008–09: analysis of national survey data 
Background
There is now considerable evidence that racism is a pernicious and enduring social problem with a wide range of detrimental outcomes for individuals, communities and societies. Although indigenous people worldwide are subjected to high levels of racism, there is a paucity of population-based, quantitative data about the factors associated with their reporting of racial discrimination, about the settings in which such discrimination takes place, and about the frequency with which it is experienced. Such information is essential in efforts to reduce both exposure to racism among indigenous people and the harms associated with such exposure.
Methods
Weighted data on self-reported racial discrimination from over 7,000 Indigenous Australian adults participating in the 2008–09 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey, a nationally representative survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, were analysed by socioeconomic, demographic and cultural factors.
Results
More than one in four respondents (27%) reported experiencing racial discrimination in the past year. Racial discrimination was most commonly reported in public (41% of those reporting any racial discrimination), legal (40%) and work (30%) settings. Among those reporting any racial discrimination, about 40% experienced this discrimination most or all of the time (as opposed to a little or some of the time) in at least one setting. Reporting of racial discrimination peaked in the 35–44 year age group and then declined. Higher reporting of racial discrimination was associated with removal from family, low trust, unemployment, having a university degree, and indicators of cultural identity and participation. Lower reporting of racial discrimination was associated with home ownership, remote residence and having relatively few Indigenous friends.
Conclusions
These data indicate that racial discrimination is commonly experienced across a wide variety of settings, with public, legal and work settings identified as particularly salient. The observed relationships, while not necessarily causal, help to build a detailed picture of self-reported racial discrimination experienced by Indigenous people in contemporary Australia, providing important evidence to inform anti-racism policy.
doi:10.1186/1475-9276-12-47
PMCID: PMC3703299  PMID: 23816052
Racism; Discrimination; Aboriginal; Indigenous; Australia
2.  The DRUID study: racism and self-assessed health status in an indigenous population 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:131.
Background
There is now considerable evidence from around the world that racism is associated with both mental and physical ill-health. However, little is known about the mediating factors between racism and ill-health. This paper investigates relationships between racism and self-assessed mental and physical health among Indigenous Australians as well as potential mediators of these relationships.
Methods
A total of 164 adults in the Darwin Region Urban Indigenous Diabetes (DRUID) study completed a validated instrument assessing interpersonal racism and a separate item on discrimination-related stress. Self-assessed health status was measured using the SF-12. Stress, optimism, lack of control, social connections, cultural identity and reactions/responses to interpersonal racism were considered as mediators and moderators of the relationship between racism/discrimination and self-assessed health status.
Results
After adjusting for socio-demographic factors, interpersonal racism was significantly associated with the SF-12 mental (but not the physical) health component. Stress, lack of control and feeling powerless as a reaction to racism emerged as significant mediators of the relationship between racism and general mental health. Similar findings emerged for discrimination-related stress.
Conclusions
Racism/discrimination is significantly associated with poor general mental health among this indigenous population. The mediating factors between racism and mental health identified in this study suggest new approaches to ameliorating the detrimental effects of racism on health. In particular, the importance of reducing racism-related stress, enhancing general levels of mastery, and minimising negative social connections in order to ameliorate the negative consequences of racism.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-131
PMCID: PMC3305656  PMID: 22333047
3.  Socio-demographic factors and psychological distress in Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian adults aged 18-64 years: analysis of national survey data 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:95.
Background
Indigenous Australians are known to be at greater risk of morbidity and mortality from mental health related conditions, but most available data relate to the use of mental health services, and little is known about other aspects of social and emotional wellbeing. Using the first available nationally representative data, we examined the prevalence and patterning of psychological distress among Indigenous Australian adults and compared these with corresponding data from the non-Indigenous population.
Methods
The analysis used weighted data on psychological distress, as measured by a modified Kessler Psychological Distress score (K5), and a range of socio-demographic measures for 5,417 Indigenous and 15,432 non-Indigenous adults aged 18-64 years from two nationally representative surveys. Very high psychological distress (VHPD) was defined as a K5 score ≥ 15 (possible range = 5-25).
Results
Indigenous adults were about three times more likely than non-Indigenous adults to be classified with VHPD: 14.5% (95% confidence interval (CI) 12.9-16.0%) versus 5.5% (95% CI 5.0-5.9%). After adjusting for age, most socio-demographic variables were significantly associated with VHPD in both populations, although the relative odds were generally larger among non-Indigenous people. Indigenous people in remote areas had a lower prevalence of VHPD than their non-remote counterparts, and only marital status, main language, and food insecurity were significantly associated with VHPD in remote areas.
Conclusions
Higher absolute levels of VHPD combined with smaller socio-demographic gradients in the Indigenous population suggest the importance of risk factors such as interpersonal racism, marginalization and dispossession, chronic stress and exposure to violence that are experienced by Indigenous Australians with common and/or cross-cutting effects across the socioeconomic spectrum. The lower prevalence of VHPD and lack of association with many socio-demographic variables in remote areas suggests either that the instrument may be less valid for Indigenous people living in remote areas or that living in an Indigenous majority environment (such as exists in most remote communities) may mitigate the risk of psychological distress to some degree.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-95
PMCID: PMC3340306  PMID: 22296820
4.  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
5.  Development and validation of the Measure of Indigenous Racism Experiences (MIRE) 
Background
In recent decades there has been increasing evidence of a relationship between self-reported racism and health. Although a plethora of instruments to measure racism have been developed, very few have been described conceptually or psychometrically Furthermore, this research field has been limited by a dearth of instruments that examine reactions/responses to racism and by a restricted focus on African American populations.
Methods
In response to these limitations, the 31-item Measure of Indigenous Racism Experiences (MIRE) was developed to assess self-reported racism for Indigenous Australians. This paper describes the development of the MIRE together with an opportunistic examination of its content, construct and convergent validity in a population health study involving 312 Indigenous Australians.
Results
Focus group research supported the content validity of the MIRE, and inter-item/scale correlations suggested good construct validity. A good fit with a priori conceptual dimensions was demonstrated in factor analysis, and convergence with a separate item on discrimination was satisfactory.
Conclusion
The MIRE has considerable utility as an instrument that can assess multiple facets of racism together with responses/reactions to racism among indigenous populations and, potentially, among other ethnic/racial groups.
doi:10.1186/1475-9276-7-9
PMCID: PMC2359753  PMID: 18426602

Results 1-5 (5)