Education and health behaviour of Indigenous Australians: Evidence from the 1994 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey

Education and health behaviour of Indigenous Australians: Evidence from the 1994 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey Report

Occasssional Paper Series

  • Author(s): Gray, A., Boughton, B.
  • Published: 2001
  • Publisher: Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal and Tropical Health
  • Volume: Issue No. 3

Abstract: Strong relationships between education and health outcomes have been identifi ed in most countries of the world, with children of more educated parents having more favourable health and a better chance of survival. However, there has been little research on this relationship among Indigenous peoples living as minorities in First World countries. This paper reports on an analysis of data from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey of 15,700 people conducted in Australia in 1994. The analysis focused on the actions that respondents reported they had taken concerning their children’s health. After controlling for the effects of reported health conditions and health status on people’s health behaviour, we examined whether any signifi cant relationship remains between education and health behaviour. The analysis showed that this relationship was more complex than originally anticipated. Relatively high levels of health action are taken for two groups of children - those whose mothers had the least education and those whose mothers had the most education. The same was found to be true when access to health services and a range of other variables were taken into account. This suggests that some unobserved factor is infl uencing what would otherwise be a linear or ordinal relationship, and raises many questions. While the paper concludes with some suggestions of other factors that might be operating, this takes us into areas beyond the reach of statistical analysis. The data collected in national surveys and censuses needs to improve in value for analyses such as these. It is important to supplement statistical studies with more qualitative surveys and ethnographic study at regional and community level, with relevant Indigenous organisations having maximum input into their design.

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Suggested Citation
Gray, A., Boughton, B., 2001, Education and health behaviour of Indigenous Australians: Evidence from the 1994 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey, Volume:Issue No. 3, Report, viewed 09 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=3869.

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