An exploration into the wellbeing of the families living in the 'suburbs in the bush'

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Sharma, Sanjay
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2009
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Abstract

Objective: To examine the wellbeing of families of male mine-workers living in remote mining towns in Australia. Methods: Through an extensive review of available (but limited) social science literature on mining towns this paper explores and identifies the key social issues and problems of mining towns. Social science and health-related research are used to argue that there are several factors that may negatively affect the relationship and psychological wellbeing of family members. Results: Atypical work schedules of the mining jobs could negatively affect the long-term health of the workers, and could constrain their qualitative participation in domestic roles. Limited availability of resources, services and flexi-time jobs in mining towns marginalise female partners to domestic chores. Higher level of alcohol consumption by workers and their preferred spending of leisure time with workmates symbolise patriarchal culture in mining towns that further marginalises women and could strain marital relationships. These factors could affect the social and emotional health of the children. Conclusion: Interdisciplinary studies are needed to gain realistic understanding of the dynamics of long-term impacts of long work hours/compressed work weeks, socio-cultural, motivational and environmental factors on the wellbeing of the workers and their families living in mining towns. Family counsellors and mental health professionals working in remote mining towns must take into consideration the likely negative impacts of work and community on individuals and families.

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Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health

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33

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3

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© 2009 Public Health Association of Australia. This is a preprint of an article published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. The definitive version is available at www.interscience.wiley.com

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Applied economics

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