Trauma, posttraumatic stress disorder, suicide and aspects of well being among aboriginal adolescents in the Kimberley

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[Truncated abstract] The current research was guided by the findings of the Choose Life Report (Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Council [KAMSC], 1999), in which Kimberley Aboriginal youth described a context of family deaths, interpersonal violence, unsafe environments, lack of self esteem and a general sense of failure, to underlie the suicidal behaviour of peers (in 1998 suicide amongst Aboriginal youth in the region had escalated to a rate per capita 12 times the national average). The concept of cumulative trauma was introduced to represent the impact of multiple layers of trauma on the developing well being of Aboriginal adolescents in the region, and included; the adolescents chronic exposure to the trauma of significant others and the long term effects of this trauma on others, the adolescents' own direct exposure to trauma and victimisation, and the transgenerational transposition of an entity of unresolved historical trauma and grief. It was argued that the structure for transgenerational trauma was forged in colonial and post colonial periods, and that sociopolitical influences continued to exacerbate the experiences of contemporary Aboriginal children and adolescents. It was thought that the Aboriginal adolescents would report considerable lifetime direct and secondary trauma exposure, and the manner in which this was manifest in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, suicidal ideation, depression and substance misuse was to be examined. At the same time, the influence of anger, shame, coping strategies, hopelessness, self esteem and cultural identity on this dynamic were also to be explored.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
StateUnpublished - 2010


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