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Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Victorians

Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Victorians

1.0 Introduction

Culture, diversity, and ethnicity are some of the factors that can affect the health care provision and social determinant of health. The aim of the study compares two communities: the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Victorians in Australia. National statistics have indicated significant differences between the health and determinants of the
health of the Aboriginal Australians. The aim of the study is to identify the health determinants of the Aboriginal Victorian adults and the non-Aboriginal Victorian counterparts.

2.0 Comparing Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Victorians

2.1 Aboriginal Victorians

The Aboriginal Victorians experience high poor health outcomes. They have a higher prevalence of diseases such as anxiety and depression with the statistics indicating almost one out of every three facing the diseases (Markwick et al., 2014). The Aboriginal Victorians have a higher risk of getting psychological distress which might lead to anxiety and depression thus need for preventive measures. In general, they have low life expectancy (Collins & Kalisch, 2011). However, it is important to conduct further study to identify and understand the factors that determine the psychological distress. Some of the studies have indicated racism, and prejudice plays a key role in determining the health of the Aborigines in Australia and is linked to the high cases of psychological distress (Ferdinand, Paradies, & Kelaher, 2013). However, racism has been indicated to be common in the urban setting (Priest et al., 2011).

The Aboriginal Victorians experienced bad social determinants.
They had a higher prevalence of psychosocial risk factors such as financial stress, food insecurity, and psychological distress. Psychological affects negatively affect the health both indirectly and directly in several ways (Markwick et al., 2014). Despite the fact that it causes anxiety and depression, psychological distress can cause poor health and can lead to the development of diseases such as stroke and coronary heart disease and increase engagement into the lifestyle risk factors (Hamer et al., 2012). The Aboriginal Victorians also experience food insecurity which can lead to nutritionally related diseases such as Kwashiorkor and Marasmus. Furthermore, food insecurity can lead to loss of productivity, impaired learning, social exclusion, and psychological distress (Stansfeld et al., 2002).

Socioeconomically, the Aboriginal Victorians are disadvantaged. They have lower employment rates and household incomes. Low socioeconomic status has often been associated with adverse impact on the health status of people thus explaining the poor health of the Aboriginal Victorians (King et al., 2012). Low income at the household level among the Aboriginals has made it difficult for the Aboriginals to buy healthy foods and participate in leisure time physical practices. Furthermore, the Aboriginal Victorians have not been able to afford healthcare and adequate and safe housing. The low level of education among the Aboriginal Victorians has made most of them to be unemployed thus limiting them from getting a well-paying job (Markwick et al., 2014). Consequently, the Aboriginal Victorians have a low level of health literacy.

Aboriginal Victorians have less social capital. There is a link between health outcomes and social capital. In explanation, higher levels of social capital is linked to better health while lower levels cause worse health (Rocco & Suhrcke, 2012). Social capital is the resources that give a network of mutual recognition and acquaintance. Most of the Aboriginal people are excluded from the social networks thus could improve their educational and economic benefits. The exclusion has been getting worse over years. It can be divided into three types: linking, bridging, and bonding. In context to Aboriginal communities, linking social capital is the connections between the community and the hierarchical and formal institutions of power. Bridging the social capital is the relationship between non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal communities. Lastly, bonding social capital is the relationship among the people that belong to the Aboriginal community (Mignone, 2009). Social capital is a concept that has not yet been enjoyed with the Aboriginal population. The Aboriginal Victorians have not stayed longer in their areas of residence. The length of their stay in the neighbourhood can be used to define the social environment of the Aboriginals. Since they have frequently been relocating, the educational opportunities have been impacted since they do have to transfer from one school to another. Furthermore, they have not been able to connect adequately to the community and services in them and develop social networks. Consequently, all the three forms of social capital have been minimised. The same can be said of the Aboriginal Victorians socioeconomic status since people with low incomes often experience moments of unemployment. In addition, they are often forced to relocate in search of affordable housing and jobs.

Aboriginal Victorians are less likely to get support from their neighbours and friends due to the low level of bonding in the social capital. In explanation, the Aboriginal people in Victoria were the most prone to child removal practices which were called the stolen generations (Lin, Twisk, & Huang, 2012). The community was affected than any other community in the whole of Australia. The government had already developed assimilation policies that will ensure that the effects of stolen generation are reclaimed (Perkins & Langton, 2010). Families are a critical source of support, and lack of it can increase an individuals’ vulnerability, more so, during stressful periods and crisis thus impacting on health. It is, therefore, important to develop policies and initiatives that will promote bonding social capital (Simmons, Khan, & Teale, 2005). For instance, there need to be an increased provision of healing programs and centres for those affected by the stolen generation incident. The policies and programs will also act as a support to the Aboriginal families (Markwick et al., 2014).

Redressing social and economic disadvantages and the outright material and cultural harm that the Aboriginal Victorians experience, public policies have been initiated to address it (Cass, 2014). The recent policies have recognised the issues of Aboriginals to be of priority. Destructive social policies and colonisation have been of great negative impact on the indigenous family life. As a result, the Aboriginals were separated from their spirituality, traditions, culture, families, and land.

Aboriginal Victorians have a high rate of excessive alcohol consumption. Even though it has been indicated as a negative stereotyping of the community, they are more likely to engage in excessive alcohol consumption. It is, however, important to discredit the issue so as to focus on reducing the rate of racism and prejudice in the area only if the neglect of the truth will b appropriate (Markwick et al., 2014). There is also a higher prevalence of the Aboriginal Victorians that have abstained from consumption of alcoholic drinks as indicated in the national statistics. They also have higher smoking rate and obesity cases.

2.2 Non-Aboriginal Victorians

The non-aboriginals have higher household incomes; they are employed, and able to work in the state easily (Markwick et al., 2014). They also have low cases of psychological risk factors such as financial stress, food insecurity, and psychological distress. Furthermore, obesity is not a common case among them and they take less alcohol. The non-Aboriginal Victorians have also lived in their neighbourhood for a long period compared to the Aboriginal Victorians. They have higher levels of civic and social trust and have strong family ties. They have strong social ties thus able to get help from friends and neighbours. As a result, they are in a better place when it comes to accessing community resources and services. The non-Aboriginal Victorians have better risk factors since they have lower cases of inadequate fruit intake, smoking, and obesity.

National statistics indicate that the non-Aboriginals have higher life expectancy. In explanation, the statistics indicate that the non-Aboriginal population born in 2010 to 2012 have higher life expectancy among the males and females (Collins & Kalisch, 2011). The difference between the life expectancy is based on the diseases that affect them. The non-Aboriginals are less likely to be affected by the non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mental disorders, and chronic respiratory diseases (Markwick et al., 2014).

The non-Aboriginals Victorians have better health. In explanation, they have better cultural, emotional, and social wellbeing. Most of the medical curriculums have also focused on teaching the non-Aboriginal Victorians due to the support of the cultural and historical context since the governance system has been working on their favour (Henry, Houston & Mooney, 2004). The non-Aboriginal Victorians are less likely to report being on a poor or fair health. They are rarely diagnosed with asthma, cancer, anxiety, and depression (Markwick et al., 2014). There is a lower rate of anxiety and depression with only one out of five of the non-Aboriginal Victorians being diagnosed with the diseases. Psychological distress is not a common disease among the non-Aboriginal Victorians since they have access to most of their needs. However, their lives can be made better through the development of prevention measures that will reduce the prevalence of anxiety and depression to zero. In explanation, the non-Aboriginals were not subjected to racism and prejudice thus being free from the psychological stress (Priest et al., 2011).

Socioeconomically, the non-Aboriginal Victorians are better placed. They have higher employment rates and household incomes. The higher socioeconomic standards of the non-Aboriginal Victorians have ensured that they have better health (Kawachi, Adler, & Dow, 2010). High income in a household translates to the ability to purchase healthy foods and engage in leisure time activities. In return, the leisure time activities can translate into good physical activities thus preventing some health issues linked to exercising. Higher income also means that the population can afford adequate healthcare and housing. Furthermore, a higher level of education among the non-Aboriginal Victorians translate to higher employments and increases their chances of getting a well-paying job (Markwick et al., 2014). It is also linked to a higher level of literacy in health issues.

The non-Aboriginals have higher social capital (Markwick et al., 2014). There is a clear link between health outcomes and social capital in which higher social capital translates to better health (Eriksson, 2011). The non-Aboriginals have better social networks that translate to better educational and economic benefits (Waldstrøm & Svendsen, 2008).

The non-Aboriginal Victorians have also lived in the same are for a longer period (Markwick et al., 2014). In explanation, the non-Aboriginal Victorians have lived in their neighbourhood for a longer period without migrating to other areas with different neighbourhoods. The length of neighbourhood is critical in determining the social capital of people. Since the non-Aboriginals have not been relocating frequently, they have managed to maintain and maximise the educational opportunities. In addition, they are able to connect with the services and communities around them thus building social capital. Furthermore, they have been able to develop social support networks (Lin, Twisk, & Huang, 2012). The non-Aboriginal Victorians have higher socio-economic status with most of the people employed and those who are not experience less unemployment periods. They rarely relocate since they have jobs and can afford housing. The non-Aboriginal Victorians are also more likely to get support from their families and friends since they have stayed in the place for a longer period of time.

Most of the non-Aboriginal Victorians attends the support group meetings that access the community services (Markwick et al., 2014). As a result, they have ended up being with higher resources compared to their counterparts. The non-Aboriginal Victorians are more likely to be part of community groups such as professional, school, church, and sports including other action groups.

The non-Aboriginal Victorians also have higher trust in the social systems include systems of health (Markwick et al., 2014). Trust in the system has enabled them to have altruistic and cooperative behaviours that promote collective wellbeing and attainment of the communal goals. The non-Aboriginal Victorians trusts the civic institutions and the personnel that run them thus able to maximise the healthcare offered in the system. They feel that most people can be trusted and are of value (Zhao et al., 2004). The trust has made the non-Aboriginal Victorians to develop better social capital. They trust people thus has been able to create bridging and bonding social capital. The non-Aboriginal Victorians have also been able to create a trust within their community of existence thus developing a linking social capital.

3.0 Conclusion

The Aboriginal Victorians have a higher rate of poor or fair health as per their ratings compared to their non-Aboriginal counterparts in the area. Some of the diseases that have impacted the populations greatly include asthma, anxiety, depression, and cancer. The Aboriginal Victorians also had a higher rate of the psychological risk factors such as financial stress, food insecurity, and psychological distress compared to their counterparts. In addition, the Aboriginal Victorians had lower social-economic status due to low income or unemployment. The non-Aboriginal Victorians had higher social capital and lower prevalence of lifestyle risk factors such as inadequate fruit intake, obesity, and smoking. Most of the Aboriginal Victorians had a high blood pressure and sought help for mental health issues. The Aboriginal Victorians experience worse social determinants compared to the non-Aboriginal Victorians. Socioeconomically, the Aboriginal Victorians are disadvantaged compared to the non-Aboriginal Victorians. Aboriginal Victorians have less social capital compared to the non-Aboriginal Victorians. As a result, Aboriginal Victorians are less likely to get support from their neighbours and friends due to the low level of bonding in the social capital. Consequently, public policies have been put in place to redress the social and economic disadvantages and the outright material and cultural harm that the Aboriginal Victorians experience. Aboriginal Victorians have a high rate of excessive alcohol consumption compared to the Non-Aboriginals. Lastly, the Aboriginal Victorians population has lower life expectancy compared to the non-Aboriginal Victorians.


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