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Current mental health models in Australia ignore the powerful influence that culture has on the diagnosis and treatment of disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a common childhood disorder with many associated problems. The cultural influence of Aboriginal worldview and their approach to ADHD have never been explored in Australia. This project used a qualitative approach to examine if there are cultural differences in the interpretation of the behavioural symptoms of ADHD.
The main aims of the study were to:
Findings from the study may assist in the development of a culturally sensitive and appropriate measure of ADHD in Aboriginal children, thus allowing them to receive early intervention. The findings may also assist with the development of an Aboriginal specific ADHD service delivery model to improve the mental health of young Aboriginal people affected by ADHD.
Participants sought for involvement in the study included: Aboriginal community members, Aboriginal mental health workers, and Aboriginal parents with or without children affected by ADHD. Participant recruitment took place in Perth, Western Australia, and was restricted to persons over the age of 18 years who identify as Aboriginal.
This project was part of the National Health and Medical Research Council Capacity Building Grant (ID 533 547) for Indigenous mental health research and also received a one year Curtin research grant funding.
The project began in 2010 and was scheduled to be completed in 2011.
Abstract adapted from the Curtin University of Technology
Dr. Pek Ru Loh
School of Psychology and Speech Pathology
Curtin University of Technology
Ph: (08) 9266 3437
Fax: (08) 9266 2468