Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 104, Issue 2, pp e136–e141 | Cite as

A Process for Creating the Aboriginal Children’s Health and Well-Being Measure (ACHWM)

  • Nancy L. YoungEmail author
  • Mary Jo Wabano
  • Tricia A. Burke
  • Stephen D. Ritchie
  • Debbie Mishibinijima
  • Rita G. Corbiere
Quantitative Research


OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to identify concepts of health and well-being important to Aboriginal children and youth. These concepts were necessary for the development of a culturally appropriate measure of health.

METHODS: We completed 4 community consultation sessions, 4 advisory committee meetings, and 6 full-day focus groups within the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve. The focus groups engaged Aboriginal children and youth via relevant cultural teachings, a photography exercise combined with a community bicycling tour, and detailed discussions of health and well-being using photovoice. The process was guided by a conceptual model: the Medicine Wheel. The participants placed their photos on a wall mural and identified their most important concepts. These concepts were synthesized through expert consensus into items and reviewed by the broader community.

RESULTS: The participants ranged in age from 8.2 to 17.7 years (mean age=12.3). Through innovative methods, children and youth identified 206 concepts representing the 4 quadrants of the Medicine Wheel: emotional, spiritual, physical and mental. These concepts were refocused, in collaboration with the community, to create a new 60-item measure of health and well-being that was primarily positive in focus.

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates the success of implementing a unique process of photovoice in combination with bicycling and informed by an Aboriginal framework. The results confirm the distinct conceptualization of health and well-being in this population and underscore the necessity for a culturally appropriate measure. This study also produced a first draft of the Aboriginal Children’s Health and Well-being Measure (ACHWM).

Key Words

Child health status Indians North American quality of life photography questionnaires 


Objectif: Cerner les concepts de la santé et du bien-être qui importent aux enfants et aux jeunes autochtones. Ces concepts ont été nécessaires à l’élaboration d’un indicateur de santé culturellement approprié.

MÉTHODE: Nous avons mené 4 séances de consultation communautaire, tenu 4 réunions du comité consultatif et organisé 6 groupes de discussion d’une journée dans la réserve indienne non cédée de Wikwemikong. Les groupes de discussion ont proposé aux enfants et aux jeunes autochtones des enseignements culturels pertinents, un exercice de photographie combiné à une excursion à vélo dans la communauté et une discussion approfondie sur la santé et le bien-être par la méthode Photovoice. Le processus s’est guidé sur le modèle théorique de la « roue médicinale ». Les participants ont placé leurs photos sur une murale et cerné les concepts les plus importants pour eux. Ces concepts ont été résumés par des spécialistes, en consensus, et examinés par la communauté élargie.

RÉSULTATS: Les participants avaient de 8,2 à 17,7 ans (âge moyen=12,3 ans). En employant des méthodes novatrices, les enfants et les jeunes ont cerné 206 concepts représentant les 4 secteurs de la roue médicinale: émotionnel, spirituel, physique et mental. Ces concepts ont été peaufinés, en collaboration avec la communauté, pour créer un nouvel indicateur de la santé et du bien-être en 60 éléments. La perspective adoptée était principalement positive.

CONCLUSION: L’étude montre qu’il est possible de mettre en oeuvre un processus original, combinant la méthode Photovoice au vélo et éclairé par une grille autochtone. Les résultats confirment la conception distincte de la santé et du bien-être dans cette population et soulignent le besoin d’un indicateur culturellement approprié. L’étude a aussi produit une première version d’un «indicateur de la santé et du bien-être des enfants autochtones» (ACHWM).

Mots Clés

enfant état sanitaire Indiens d’Amérique Nord qualité de vie photographie questionnaires 


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy L. Young
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mary Jo Wabano
    • 2
  • Tricia A. Burke
    • 1
  • Stephen D. Ritchie
    • 3
  • Debbie Mishibinijima
    • 2
  • Rita G. Corbiere
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Rural and Northern HealthLaurentian UniversitySudburyCanada
  2. 2.Nahndahweh Tchigehgamig Wikwemikong Health CentreWikwemikongCanada
  3. 3.School of Human KineticsLaurentian UniversitySudburyCanada
  4. 4.Wikwemikong Unceded Indian ReserveCanada

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