Indigenous Young People's Resilience and Wellbeing


This project is a collaboration between Murdoch University and UNE and is funded by an ARC grant.

Some Aboriginal youth in situations of adversity are prone to substance misuse, violence injury, and negative health outcomes from risky behaviour which has significant economic, societal and cultural impact; yet others are not. Resilience confers a protective role on the social and emotional wellbeing of youth exposed to high levels of adversity. The impact of this research will be a better understanding of connections among age, cultural identity, resilience, wellbeing and risky behaviours.

Project aim

This mixed methods cohort study will resolve conceptual and definitional ambiguities around the concepts of resilience and wellbeing as they manifest in Aboriginal youth. Researchers will classify factors related to, and those that predict the development of resilience and wellbeing in Aboriginal youth; quantify Aboriginal youth's understanding and how they rate their resilience and wellbeing; and how this differs in the cohorts between those considered to be low risk and those considered to be high risk. Further, how community services have an impact on youth well-being and resilience will be explained; as will how services independently and collaboratively support the development of resilience and wellbeing in Aboriginal youth.

The research team will recruit participants from the two-state study locations (WA & NSW) with each location defining a separate cohort group. Participants will be enrolled for the duration of the 3-year study period; will be longitudinally followed, with annual assessments (surveys and interviews each year), for the duration of the project.

Currently awaiting Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council ethics committee approval before the project can begin in NSW.

Project Personnel

  • Professor Rhonda Marriott (Murdoch University)
  • Professor Kim Usher (UNE)
  • Professor Debra Jackson (Brookes University, UK, UTS, UNE)
  • Associate Professor Corinne Reid (was ProjectKIDS – Murdoch University but now The University of Edinburgh)
  • Associate ProfessorRosalyn Walker (Telethon Kids Institute)
  • Dr Carrington Shepherd (Telethon Kids Institute)
  • Dr Katrina Hopkins (Telethon Kids Institute)
  • Dr Brody Heritage (Murdoch University)
  • Cecilia Strutt (Murdoch University)