Traditional Culture and the Well-Being of Indigenous Australians: An Analysis of the 2008 NATSISS

Posted: 9 Jun 2011

See all articles by Alfred Michael Dockery

Alfred Michael Dockery

Curtin University - School of Economics and Finance; Curtin University - Centre for Research in Applied Economics; Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre

Date Written: May 1, 2011

Abstract

Research based on data from the 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey found evidence of a positive link between Indigenous Australians’ attachment to their traditional culture and a range of mainstream socio-economic indicators, contrary to the common assumption that traditional culture is a barrier to achievement. This paper uses data from the 2008 NATSISS to further explore the concept of ‘cultural attachment,’ breaking it down into four constituent elements: participation in cultural events and activities, cultural identity, language and participation in traditional economic activities. The positive effects of cultural attachment on mainstream socio-economic indicators are confirmed, and now found to extend to subjective well-being. This is important as subjective measures of well-being are based on Indigenous peoples’ own values and preferences. Indigenous Australians who identify more strongly with their traditional culture are happier and display better mental health, but at the same time experience more psychological stress due to stronger feelings of discrimination. The findings suggest that traditional cultures should be preserved and strengthened as a means to both improving the well-being of Indigenous Australians and to ‘closing the gap’ on mainstream socio-economic indicators.

Keywords: Indigenous culture, well-being, Australia

JEL Classification: 100, J71, Z10

Suggested Citation

Dockery, Alfred Michael, Traditional Culture and the Well-Being of Indigenous Australians: An Analysis of the 2008 NATSISS (May 1, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1860119

Alfred Michael Dockery (Contact Author)

Curtin University - School of Economics and Finance ( email )

GPO Box U 1987
Perth, Western Australia 6845
Australia

Curtin University - Centre for Research in Applied Economics ( email )

GPO Box U1987
Perth, Western Australia 6845
Australia

Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre ( email )

GPO Box U1987
Perth, WA 6845
Australia
61 8 9266 1744 (Phone)
61 8 9266 2373 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://bcec.edu.au/

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