How Aboriginal young people in an urban setting access sexual health information, and the role technology can play

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Copyright: Gardner, Kristy
Abstract
This study takes a deliberate strengths-based approach to identify the sources of sexual health information accessed by Aboriginal young people from one community in Western Sydney, and the role of technology in their information seeking. The research design draws on Aboriginal Ways of Knowing, Being and Doing (Martin & Mirraboopa, 2003) to position Aboriginal young people’s knowledge and experiences as central to the research as participants, peer interviewers and ultimately peer researchers. The research methods were qualitative; peer-led interviews with 23 Aboriginal young people in Western Sydney were conducted. Peer interviewers were selected in consultation with members of a local Aboriginal community. Three male and five female interviewers were selected to ensure that cultural expectations were met regarding the need to discuss issues around sexual health with a person of the same gender. The findings showed that participants used the internet to access information about physical symptoms because searching for information online allowed privacy. Participants then approached trusted sources, including those with whom they had formal relationships (doctors, teachers, counsellors) and informal relationships (family members, friends), to check that the information participants found online was correct and trustworthy. In this context young people used the internet as a triaging tool. The participants were also aware that their formal sources of help and advice, such as teachers, might have to undertake mandatory reporting if certain subject matter were discussed, although the parameters around this obligation and their understanding of which particular professionals were required to do so were not always clear. The research findings therefore have important implications for how sexual health education programs for Aboriginal young people living in urban areas should be targeted.
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Publication Year
2021
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Thesis
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Masters Thesis
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