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Aust N Z J Public Health. 2019 Jun;43(3):241-247. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12892. Epub 2019 Apr 17.

Aboriginal mothers in prison in Australia: a study of social, emotional and physical wellbeing.

Author information

1
Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle, New South Wales.
2
The Australian Centre for Public and Population Health Research, University of Technology Sydney, New South Wales.
3
IMPACCT, Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, New South Wales.
4
School of Social Sciences, UNSW Sydney, New South Wales.
5
WA Country Health Service - Midwest, Western Australia.
6
National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University, Western Australia.
7
The Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney, New South Wales.
8
Medical School, Australian National University, Canberra.
9
Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, New South Wales.
10
School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW Sydney, New South Wales.
11
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Western Australia.
12
Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, New South Wales.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To describe the social, emotional and physical wellbeing of Aboriginal mothers in prison.

METHODS:

Cross-sectional survey, including a Short Form Health Survey (SF-12) and Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (5-item version) administered to Aboriginal women who self-identified as mothers.

RESULTS:

Seventy-seven Aboriginal mothers in New South Wales (NSW) and 84 in Western Australia (WA) participated in the study. Eighty-three per cent (n=59) of mothers in NSW were in prison for drug-related offences, 64.8% (n=46) of mothers in WA were in prison for offences committed under the influence of alcohol. Sixty-eight per cent (n=52) of mothers in NSW and 35% (n=28) of mothers in WA reported mental health problems. Physical (PCS) and Mental (MCS) component scores of SF-12 varied for mothers in NSW and WA. Mothers in NSW experienced poorer health and functioning than mothers in WA (NSW: PCS 49.5, MCS 40.6; WA: PCS 54.4, MCS 48.3) and high levels of psychological distress (NSW: 13.1; WA 10.1).

CONCLUSIONS:

Aboriginal mothers in prison have significant health needs associated with physical and mental health, and psychological distress. Implications for public health: Adoption of social and emotional wellbeing as an explanatory framework for culturally secure healthcare in prison is essential to improving health outcomes of Aboriginal mothers in prison in Australia.

KEYWORDS:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples; mental health; mothers; prisoner health; social and emotional wellbeing

PMID:
30994971
DOI:
10.1111/1753-6405.12892
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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