Family and community resilience in an Australian Indigenous community
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Objectives Understanding of Australian Indigenous resilience is predominantly limited to the knowledge gained from non-Indigenous psychological resilience research. In a narrow research field, authors have pointed to various protective factors at play for Indigenous Australians that have the potential to strengthen community responses to ill health and adversity. This article reports on a study in the Yaegl community, an Indigenous community of north eastern NSW, which investigated resilience and its relationship to wellbeing. Methods A qualitative study with ethnographic and phenomenological design, utilising semi structured interviews and focus groups with Yaegl Indigenous community members, between 2006-2010. Results Findings from the study indicate resilience in the Yaegl community is multi-layered with wide-ranging sources of protection, support and resources needed to foster strength and wellbeing. In response to adversity and hardship, family and community protective sources are particularly important, including the need for connectedness, sharing and affection, role models and leadership. Conclusions Of particular significance is the importance participants placed on relationships for individual and collective strength and functioning. These relationships appear key to the amelioration of risk and adversity, and the sense of wellbeing of and within the community. Implications The existing and potential strengths and resources of a community need to be recognised and valued in health and mental health service initiatives, as tools in preventing risk, strengthening recovery from ill-health or adversity, and indeed boosting wellbeing. Key words Indigenous; family; community; wellbeing; resilience.
Australian Indigenous Health Bulletin
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