Chapter 8: Social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within the broad context of social determinants of health

Chapter 8: Social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within the broad context of social determinants of health Book Section

Beyond Bandaids: exploring the underlying social determinants of Aboriginal health. Papers from the Social Determinants of Aboriginal Health Workshop, Adelaide, July 2004

  • Author(s): Henderson, G., Robson, C., Cox, L., Dukes, C., Tsey, K., Haswell, M.
  • Secondary Author(s): Anderson, I., Baum, F., Bentley, M.
  • Published: 2007
  • Publisher: Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health,

Abstract: The social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is affected by a range of social determinants of health. These determinants include forms of State violence and inter-generational trauma, imbalanced power relations and limited access to services within the mainstream population, and systemised and individualised discrimination and racism. These contribute greatly to the perpetuation of lower income and standards of living, including poor quality and overcrowded housing and community infrastructure, and poorer outcomes in health, education, employment and the justice system. Indigenous Australians continue to experience higher levels of poverty, incarceration and ill health than the rest of the Australian population. Given these experiences, and the resulting disadvantage they exert on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s employment opportunities, it is not surprising that welfare payments originally designed as safety nets for the small minority, that is 5–10 per cent of the mainstream population that become unemployed at any given time, have become a trap for some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, where up to 80 per cent of residents live on some form of welfare. The pervasive effects of inter-generational welfare on such communities are clearly visible and continue to entrench the ‘downtrodden image’ of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the media. The experience of these inequities promotes adoption of risk behaviours such as smoking, inhalant use and harmful drinking, as well as poor nutrition and the morbidity associated with chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, renal disease and mental illness, and many infectious diseases (ABS & AIHW 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005).

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Henderson, G., Robson, C., Cox, L., Dukes, C., Tsey, K., Haswell, M., 2007, Chapter 8: Social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within the broad context of social determinants of health, Book Section, viewed 18 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=3873.

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