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The national longitudinal study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing

Mayi Kuwayu: The National longitudinal study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing

Project aims

  1. To examine how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture relates to health and wellbeing, including connection to Country, cultural practices, ritual, spirituality and language-use. 
  2. To create national level data about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural factors (e.g. language use, connection to country) and their relationship to health and wellbeing. 
  3. The creation of an Aboriginal-controlled collaborative research resource, available for approved projects in strict accordance with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ethical community standards and values.  

This study is the first of its kind, providing a large-scale national cohort study about the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults to provide the first community-derived measures of culture, and the first quantitative evidence regarding Indigenous cultural expressions and contexts.  

It enables the first large-scale investigation of the relationship between culture and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults to identify opportunities to incorporate culture in programs and policy to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing.  

Project team 

Project leader: Professor Ray Lovett  
Project partners:  

Administering organisation: the Australian National University  
Project timeline: 04/07/2016—31/12/2018  

Methodology  

Project findings  

The research activity in this project achieved a large-scale national cohort study about the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults, and provided the first community-derived measures of culture, and the first quantitative evidence regarding Indigenous cultural expressions and contexts at the national level.  

Pilot test 1  

Pilot test 2  

Analysis of response rates to preliminary mail out (preliminary)  

Validating the racism measures in the mail out (preliminary)  

Outcomes and impacts 

Knowledge  

  • The Mayi Kuwayu Study established an ethical, community-focused and Aboriginal-controlled resource that contributed to a holistic and robust understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, health and wellbeing.  

Awareness  

  • Mayi Kuwayu has acquired some key community members as ambassadors to the study. These people have helped with the Mayi Kuwayu launch and have attended various functions.  
  • Dr Ray Lovett and members of the team have presented at various events and conferences and continue to present on the findings of the study.   

Behaviour  

  • Evidence from the Mayi Kuwayu Study supports the prioritisation of culture in the design of program and policy.  

Skills  

  • Workshops for refinement of the survey were co-facilitated by local Aboriginal community organisations. Some sites elected to field test the survey and so additional training in survey administration, and data collection and security was undertaken.   
  • In Alice Springs NT Indigenous community researchers were enlisted from within Tangentyere Council (Alice Springs).   
  • Additional organisations in Alice Springs and Queensland were interested in undertaking surveys in their communities.   
  • Additional funding from Lowitja was awarded for supplementary funding for the recruitment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members to work in remote areas to assist with data compilation, analysis and interpretation and reporting that commenced late 2018. Work was successfully undertaken with community statistical literacy programs.  

Other  

  • This study is the first of its kind, providing a large-scale national cohort study about the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults to provide the first community-derived measures of culture, and the first quantitative evidence regarding Indigenous cultural expressions and contexts.  
  • It enables the first large-scale investigation of the relationship between culture and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults to identify opportunities to incorporate culture in programs and policy to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing.  
 
Related resources:
Project leader

Dr Raymond Lovett

Administering institution:

Australian National University