Medicine & Health

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  • (2012) Bunde-Birouste, Anne; Nathan, Sally; McCarroll, Brad; Kemp, Lynn; Shwe, Tun; Gran Ortega, Marcia
    Australia accepts more than 13,000 refugee and humanitarian immigrants annually and young people account for a large overall percentage of the refugee population in New South Wales (NSW). There is evidence that refugee families are highly vulnerable to social isolation in their countries of resettlement. The difficulties of refugee settlement are well documented, including the need to learn new languages, negotiate differing cultural and societal values and address past emotional trauma. Development through sport refers to the use of sporting activities to provide opportunities for personal and community development with effects that go well beyond the sphere of physical activity and [elite] player and game development. In recent years there has been an increase in programs that use sport to foster social development and engagement, however little robust research has been performed to evaluate these efforts. Football United ® was developed from a vision that people’s love for Football (soccer) can be used to build opportunities for belonging, racial harmony and community cohesion. Football United ®’s six years of operations confirms the Crawford report findings, and highlights other effects of inequity in participation: • Gaps in equity of participation in both community and public education sector sport which can contribute to general disaffection within society, including leaving school, aggressive behaviour and unemployment as examples. • Lack of opportunity to interact across cultural groups which can translate to racism and the ensuing problems it provokes. Football United ® addresses these issues basing its foundations on the premise that structural variables and social processes act at multiple levels to impact on health and social behaviour. Results of the study underline Football United ®’s positive impact on participating young people’s sense of self, and appreciation for and engagement with peers from diverse backgrounds. Learning from interviews found unanticipated connections between participating in Football United ® and learning English, positive engagement with school, and building self confidence.

  • (2010) Chan, Bibiana Chi Wing
    Recent qualitative research conducted in Sydney suggests that there is considerable stigma attached to mental illness among low-acculturated Chinese-Australians. Under-utilisation of mental health services within Australia’s ethnic communities is well established. It is proposed that culturally-appropriate programs in “Assertive Communication Training” could help reducing acculturation stress (i.e. illness prevention) which, in turn, may open the door to accessing relevant information regarding mental health services (i.e. health promotion). Low-acculturated Chinese (N = 26) were recruited from ethnic media to attend seven, weekly, 90-minute workshops on assertive communication. The interactive program (adapted for non-Westerners) was aimed at improving interpersonal communication skills, especially during cross-cultural encounters. Fact sheets on mental illness and bilingual mental health services were provided seamlessly during the program. Participants completed the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS) and the Suinn-Lew Self-Identification Acculturation Scale pre- and 6-months post-training. Qualitative data assessing the impact of the program and strategies used to manage daily stress were also collected. Overall, participants rated the program as highly satisfactory. There was a marked improvement across all DASS subscales, particularly the Stress subscale. Pre- to post-training scores indicated a decrease in stress levels from above the normative mean for Chinese Australians (M=7.51) to levels well below this mean (M_T1=7.72; M_T2=6.44), p=.148. The results also indicated a significant improvement on measures of acculturation, p=.001. Finally, the qualitative component of the study yielded a rich description of assertive communication strategies used by participants to resolve conflicts, maintain positive emotional states and boost self-confidence. The results of this small, pilot study yielded positive and encouraging findings. The program, perceived by participants as carrying no stigma, was effective in reducing stress levels and improving acculturation in a sample of low-acculturated Chinese-Australians. The program was well received suggesting that further culturallyappropriate programs are needed to improve the mental health and well-being of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) or ethnic minority groups.