Examination of how a culturally-appropriate definition of resilience affects the physical and mental health of Aboriginal people

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis



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[Truncated abstract] Over the last 20 years there have been repeated calls for an Indigenous perspective on program development and implementation connected with Indigenous people. The focus of this thesis was on understanding how some Aboriginal people can successfully live across two cultures. It is underpinned by the concept of 'resilience'. According to Reich, Zautra and Hall (2010) '…resilience is best defined as an outcome of successful adaption to adversity' (Reich et al. 2010, p 4). Nevertheless, concepts such as resilience must be understood from an Aboriginal perspective. Cultural values, principles, practices and beliefs must be considered before the concept of resilience can be deemed safe for Aboriginal people and their communities. An essential first step in understanding resilience from an Indigenous perspective is for researchers to examine in detail the lived experience of Aboriginal people. Therefore, answering the question 'What makes a successful Aboriginal person resilient?' demands urgent consideration. As an Aboriginal person, it was important to provide context for the study and for the researcher to explain where she was from and how she was connected. This is normal behaviour for Aboriginal people throughout Australia. Thus, the first section of this research provides background information of the researcher’s Aboriginality 'in a lived way'; it also provides the reader with a comprehensive understanding of the researcher’s relationship to this research study. In order to obtain information for this research project, Aboriginal Standpoint Theory was applied. As an Aboriginal person, the researcher realised that to understand resilience it was essential to go back to the lived experience of Aboriginal people. The knowledge for this research project was acquired by following important Aboriginal protocols that are valued by the researcher. What was important is—not what you do, but how you do it.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
StateUnpublished - 2011

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