Social and Cultural Determinants of the Self-Assessed Health of Indigenous Australians

Monica Howlett, University of California, Berkeley

This paper investigates the social and cultural factors associated with the self-assessed health of Indigenous Australians, using data from the 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey. The results suggest factors associated with Indigenous self-assessed health differ by geographic remoteness. While there was some evidence to suggest a `social gradient' of health for Indigenous persons living in non-remote (urban) areas, there was no evidence of a gradient of health in remote (rural) areas. Additional cultural factors such as community isolation, discrimination and being removed from one's family as a child were also found to be related to poor self-reported health. The implications of this analysis include the importance of maintaining a `holistic' view of Indigenous health and formulating Indigenous health policy at a local or regional level.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Marriage, Unions, Families and Households