Indigenous child health research: a critical analysis of Australian studies

N. Priest, Tamara Mackean, E. Waters, E. Davis, E. Riggs

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    36 Citations (Scopus)


    Objectives: To conduct a critical and systematic analysis of descriptive studies regarding the health, development and wellbeing status of Indigenous children in Australia and to map them according to 1) Reported Indigenous involvement in the research process; 2) Domains of the life-course model of health; and 3) Geographical location of the Indigenous child population sample.Methods: A search of electronic databases, targeted websites and reference lists of relevant papers. Studies from 1958 to 2005 with clear methods and results were included. Data were extracted, mapped and analysed according to domains of the life-course model of health and development, study location, and reported level of Indigenous involvement.Results: 217 studies were eligible. Research predominantly addressed physical health (75.1%) with few studies addressing mental health and wellbeing (2.8%) or health determinants (27.6%). Indigenous involvement in the research process was not apparent in 71.4% of studies, although it appears to be increasing. Compared with 10.6% in metropolitan locations, 67.2% of the studies were conducted in very remote areas. Remaining studies were conducted in remote or regional areas or were national.Conclusions: More work is needed to establish an evidence base of Australian Indigenous child health and wellbeing that is founded on Indigenous values, knowledge and participation. Not withstanding the significant need to address issues of core morbidity and physical health for Indigenous children, more research addressing emotional and social health and wellbeing is required, as are research questions of importance to Indigenous children living in urban settings.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)55-63
    JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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