School of Social and Political Sciences - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 1130
Exploring productivity and collaboration in Australian Indigenous health research, 1995-2008
BACKGROUND: Building research capacity in Indigenous health has been recognised as integral in efforts to reduce the significant health disparities between Indigenous and other Australian populations. The past few decades have seen substantial changes in funding policy for Australian Indigenous health research, including increases in overall expenditure and a greater focus on collaborative and priority-driven research. However, whether these policy shifts have resulted in any change to the structure of the research workforce in this field is unclear. We examine research publications in Australian Indigenous health from 1995-2008 to explore trends in publication output, key themes investigated, and research collaborations. METHODS: A comprehensive literature search was undertaken to identify research publications about Australian Indigenous health from 1995-2008. Abstracts of all publications identified were reviewed by two investigators for relevance. Eligible publications were classified according to key themes. Social network analyses of co-authorship patterns were used to examine collaboration in the periods 1995-1999, 2000-2004 and 2005-2008. RESULTS: Nine hundred and fifty three publications were identified. Over time, the number of publications per year increased, particularly after 2005, and there was a substantial increase in assessment of health service-related issues. Network analyses revealed a highly collaborative core group of authors responsible for the majority of outputs, in addition to a series of smaller separate groups. In the first two periods there was a small increase in the overall network size (from n = 583 to n = 642 authors) due to growth in collaborations around the core. In the last period, the network size increased considerably (n = 1,083), largely due to an increase in the number and size of separate groups. The general size of collaborations also increased in this period. CONCLUSIONS: In the past few decades there has been substantial development of the research workforce in Indigenous health, characterised by an increase in authors and outputs, a greater focus on some identified priority areas and sustained growth in collaborations. This has occurred in conjunction with significant changes to funding policy for Indigenous health research, suggesting that both productivity and collaboration may be sensitive to reform, including the provision of dedicated funding.
A History of Ashes: An 80 Year Comparative Portrait of Smoking Initiation in American Indians and Non-Hispanic Whites-the Strong Heart Study
The consequences of starting smoking by age 18 are significant. Early smoking initiation is associated with higher tobacco dependence, increased difficulty in smoking cessation and more negative health outcomes. The purpose of this study is to examine how closely smoking initiation in a well-defined population of American Indians (AI) resembles a group of Non-Hispanic white (NHW) populations born over an 80 year period. We obtained data on age of smoking initiation among 7,073 AIs who were members of 13 tribes in Arizona, Oklahoma and North and South Dakota from the 1988 Strong Heart Study (SHS) and the 2001 Strong Heart Family Study (SHFS) and 19,747 NHW participants in the 2003 National Health Interview Survey. The participants were born as early as 1904 and as late as 1985. We classified participants according to birth cohort by decade, sex, and for AIs, according to location. We estimated the cumulative incidence of smoking initiation by age 18 in each sex and birth cohort group in both AIs and NHWs and used Cox regression to estimate hazard ratios for the association of birth cohort, sex and region with the age at smoking initiation. We found that the cumulative incidence of smoking initiation by age 18 was higher in males than females in all SHS regions and in NHWs (p < 0.001). Our results show regional variation of age of initiation significant in the SHS (p < 0.001). Our data showed that not all AIs (in this sample) showed similar trends toward increased earlier smoking. For instance, Oklahoma SHS male participants born in the 1980s initiated smoking before age 18 less often than those born before 1920 by a ratio of 0.7. The results showed significant variation in age of initiation across sex, birth cohort, and location. Our preliminary analyses suggest that AI smoking trends are not uniform across region or gender but are likely shaped by local context. If tobacco prevention and control programs depend in part on addressing the origin of AI smoking it may be helpful to increase the awareness in regional differences.
The prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis infection in Australia: a systematic review and meta-analysis
BACKGROUND: Chlamydia trachomatis is a common sexually transmitted infection in Australia. This report aims to measure the burden of chlamydia infection by systematically reviewing reports on prevalence in Australian populations. METHODS: Electronic databases and conference websites were searched from 1997-2011 using the terms 'Chlamydia trachomatis' OR 'chlamydia' AND 'prevalence' OR 'epidemiology' AND 'Australia'. Reference lists were checked and researchers contacted for additional literature. Studies were categorised by setting and participants, and meta-analysis conducted to determine pooled prevalence estimates for each category. RESULTS: Seventy-six studies met the inclusion criteria for the review. There was a high level of heterogeneity between studies; however, there was a trend towards higher chlamydia prevalence in younger populations, Indigenous Australians, and those attending sexual health centres. In community or general practice settings, pooled prevalence for women <25 years in studies conducted post-2005 was 5.0% (95% CI: 3.1, 6.9; five studies), and for men <30 years over the entire review period was 3.9% (95% CI: 2.7, 5.1; six studies). For young Australians aged <25 years attending sexual health, family planning or youth clinics, estimated prevalence was 6.2% (95% CI: 5.1, 7.4; 10 studies) for women and 10.2% (95% CI: 9.5, 10.9; five studies) for men. Other key findings include pooled prevalence estimates of 22.1% (95% CI: 19.0, 25.3; three studies) for Indigenous women <25 years, 14.6% (95% CI: 11.5, 17.8; three studies) for Indigenous men <25 years, and 5.6% (95% CI: 4.8, 6.3; 11 studies) for rectal infection in men who have sex with men. Several studies failed to report basic demographic details such as sex and age, and were therefore excluded from the analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Chlamydia trachomatis infections are a significant health burden in Australia; however, accurate estimation of chlamydia prevalence in Australian sub-populations is limited by heterogeneity within surveyed populations, and variations in sampling methodologies and data reporting. There is a need for more large, population-based studies and prospective cohort studies to compliment mandatory notification data.
Using Social Network Analysis to Evaluate Health-Related Adaptation Decision-Making in Cambodia
Climate change adaptation in the health sector requires decisions across sectors, levels of government, and organisations. The networks that link these different institutions, and the relationships among people within these networks, are therefore critical influences on the nature of adaptive responses to climate change in the health sector. This study uses social network research to identify key organisational players engaged in developing health-related adaptation activities in Cambodia. It finds that strong partnerships are reported as developing across sectors and different types of organisations in relation to the health risks from climate change. Government ministries are influential organisations, whereas donors, development banks and non-government organisations do not appear to be as influential in the development of adaptation policy in the health sector. Finally, the study highlights the importance of informal partnerships (or 'shadow networks') in the context of climate change adaptation policy and activities. The health governance 'map' in relation to health and climate change adaptation that is developed in this paper is a novel way of identifying organisations that are perceived as key agents in the decision-making process, and it holds substantial benefits for both understanding and intervening in a broad range of climate change-related policy problems where collaboration is paramount for successful outcomes.
Confronting the Disabling Effects of Imprisonment: Toward Prehabilitation
(Social Justice, 2018)
Your average offender, your stereotypical crim, is a person who is dysfunctional, who is disadvantaged? He's young, he lives in a certain postcode where if he were to return there would get into trouble invariably, regardless of how much they don't want to, they will. So for a person like that, you've got to habilitate them, you've got to create a pro-social community...
Mothering after Moomba: Labelling, secondary stigma and maternal efficacy in the post-settlement context
(SAGE Publications, 2020-12-23)
Parenting can impact young people’s justice system involvement but there is a scarcity of research that examines how parenting practices, specifically mothering, are influenced by labelling processes. Accordingly, this article considers how the labelling of young people from forced migration backgrounds as criminals impacted mothering and maternal efficacy during a ‘law and order crisis’ in Melbourne, Australia. Drawing on interviews and focus groups with mothers and young people of South Sudanese heritage, we illustrate how this hostile social climate generated secondary stigma, and amplified anxieties and concerns about inclusivity and belonging. The research advances our theoretical understanding of parental control and parental efficacy in the post-settlement context by bringing the gendered experiences of mothers as providers of supervision and support into focus. It suggests labelling may undermine maternal efficacy and exacerbate intercultural and intergenerational tensions, but that community involvement may support parents and mitigate the risk of deviance amplification.
Social Investment after Neoliberalism: Policy Paradigms and Political Platforms
(CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS, 2015-04-01)
The concept of the 'social investment state' refocuses attention on the productive function of social policy eclipsed for some time by the emphasis on its social protection or compensation roles. Here we distinguish between different social investment strategies, the Nordic 'heavy' and the Liberal 'light', with particular reference to the inclusive growth approach adopted in Australia. In 2007, social democrats in Australia returned to government with a clear mandate to reject the labour market deregulation and other neoliberal policies of its predecessor, and to tackle entrenched social and economic disadvantage in Australian society. For the last five years, social investment and inclusive growth has been at the centre of the Australian social policy agenda. Against this background, the article examines and critically assesses the (re)turn to 'social investment' thinking in Australia during Labor's term in office (2007-13). Analysis focuses not just on what was actually achieved, but also on the constraining role of prevailing economic and political circumstances and on the processes that were used to drive social investment reform. In many ways, the article goes some way to exposing ongoing tensions surrounding the distinctiveness of 'social investment' strategies pursued by leftist parties within the (neo)liberal state.
Explanations and expectations: drug narratives among young cannabis users in treatment
This article analyses how young people enrolled in drug addiction treatment in Copenhagen, Denmark, explain their cannabis careers and how they view their possibilities for quitting drug use again. Inspired by Mead and narrative studies of health and illness, the article identifies four different drug use 'aetiologies' drawn upon by the interviewees. These cover childhood experiences, self-medication, the influence of friends and cannabis use as a specific lifestyle. A central argument of the article is that these explanations not only concern the past but also point towards the future by assigning the interviewee a more or less agential position in relation to drugs. Further, the drug narratives are viewed as interactional achievements, related to the social context in which they were produced, namely, the institutional setting of the treatment centres. The article is based on 30 qualitative interviews with young people in drug addiction treatment.
The consequences of household composition and household change for Indigenous health: evidence from eight waves of the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children (LSIC)
(Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2021-01-31)
Households are important health contexts, providing social, emotional, financial and material support, but little is known about the role of household composition in the social etiology of Indigenous health. Our research is framed by an Indigenous standpoint, using eight waves of data from the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children. We investigated whether household composition and change in household composition were associated with the self-reported general health of Indigenous children and their mothers, adjusting for socioeconomic, household structure and social support factors. Our measure of household composition comprised eight groups differentiating lone and couple parents, living with and without other children and adults. Study children in couple households with other children and adults were 16% less likely to have excellent health and mothers in these same households were 7% less likely to report excellent health than children and mothers in couple households. We find little evidence that mothers in lone parent households have poorer health than mothers in couple households, after adjustment for covariates. Change in household composition was positively associated with health for both children and mothers. The results caution against presuming a direct translatability of research findings from non-Indigenous to Indigenous Peoples.
Shifts in gender equality and suicide: A panel study of changes over time in 87 countries.
BACKGROUND: Increasing gender equality remains an imperative for countries and organisations worldwide, and is associated with the improved life outcomes of men and women. Unlike many health and wellbeing indicators, death by suicide is more common among men, but suicidal behaviours are more common among women. Understanding of the relationship between gender equality and suicide is inchoate, and limited to cross-sectional work. We sought to address this gap by examining within-country changes in gender equality over time, in relation to suicide rates. METHODS: Data from 87 countries for the years 2006-2016 were used in this analysis. Gender Equality was measured using the Gender Gap Index (GGI), produced by the World Economic Forum. Male and female suicide rates came from the World Health Organization. Fixed and random-effects unbalanced panel regression models were used, adjusting for: GDP/capita; population; urban/rural ratio; number of children/person;% unemployed; year. Models were stratified by gender. RESULTS: Increasing within-country gender equality was associated with a significant reduction in suicide rates for women (Coef. -7.08, 95% CI -12.35 to -1.82, p = 0.009). For men, there was insufficient evidence that increasing within-country gender equality was associated with reduced within-country suicide rates (Coef. -5.76, 95% CI -19.40 to 7.86, p = 0.403). LIMITATIONS: The reporting and collection of suicide data is known to vary across countries. CONCLUSION: There is evidence that within-country increases in gender equality are associated with significant reductions in within-country suicide-rates for women. More research is needed to understand the drivers of these associations.
Life transitions and women's desired number of children: the impact of motherhood, relationships and employment
(ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2020-03-27)
To better understand the gap between women’s childbearing aspirations and actual levels of childbearing, this paper investigates the importance of employment, relationship and motherhood transitions for predicting women’s desired number of children. Women born in 1973–78 participating in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health were asked, at three-time points over six years, how many children they would like to have by the age of 35 years. Women who delayed childbearing, did not marry or enter a cohabiting relationship aspired to fewer children, whilst those who married aspired to more children. Notably, the two-way interactions demonstrated that for women without children, and for women who had had their first child between waves, shifting from secure work to being out of the labour force was associated with desiring fewer children. This finding supports the argument that policies which promote women’s attachment to the workforce enable women to more effectively pursue their aspirations for both motherhood and careers. The findings make a new contribution to the field by indicating that life transitions are more important predictors of desired number of children than background and demographic factors that have long been associated with, and used as explanations for, women’s childbearing.