A Culturally Competent Approach to Suicide Research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

  • Monika FergusonEmail author
  • Amy Baker
  • Nicholas Procter
Reference work entry


Despite the strength and resilience of Aboriginal peoples, suicide has profound and ongoing impacts for individuals, families, and communities, and has been identified as an area requiring further research. This chapter outlines a culturally competent approach for conducting social and emotional well-being research, from the perspective of non-Aboriginal researchers. The chapter begins by outlining the topic of suicide in the context of Aboriginal peoples and history, as a base from which to understand approaches to researching this complex topic. Sensitivities associated with conducting research as non-Aboriginal researchers are outlined, stressing the importance of developing a consciousness toward the historical relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. The chapter then introduces important ethical principles, which can be used to guide culturally competent practice throughout the research journey. Specific methodological approaches are outlined, with an emphasis on those that are participatory in nature. Although the topic of suicide is utilized as a backdrop in this chapter, the approaches discussed here are transferrable to research exploring a range of social and emotional well-being concerns experienced by Aboriginal communities.


Social and emotional well-being Collaboration Participatory research Strengths-based research Suicide Aboriginal people 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Nursing and MidwiferyUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.School of Health SciencesUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

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