The Aboriginal Families Study is the first South Australian longitudinal study investigating the health, and well-being of Aboriginal children and their mothers. A quarter of all Aboriginal families that had a baby in South Australia between July 2011 and June 2013 took part in the baseline study when their baby was around 4-12 months old.
Currently much of the research evidence regarding Aboriginal child and adolescent health is focused on children living in remote communities. There are major gaps in knowledge of factors influencing the health urban Aboriginal children, adolescents and young people, and Aboriginal families in the southern states of Australia.
The Aboriginal Families Study builds on a ten-year partnership between the Healthy Mothers Healthy Families group and the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia. The study is an important resource for understanding factors influencing health, well-being and resilience among Aboriginal children and their mothers living in urban, regional and remote areas of South Australia.
Stage 1 involved 344 families living in Adelaide, West Coast Communities (including Ceduna and Port Lincoln), Port Augusta, Whyalla, Murray Bridge, Mount Gambier and surrounding areas. Stage 2 follow-up is on track for completion between November 2017 and June 2019. The study has a strong interest in factors that promote resilience and positive health outcomes despite experiences of social adversity.
Findings from Stage 1 of the study are being used to inform strategies for strengthening antenatal and postnatal care, and early childhood services to benefit Aboriginal families and communities. Data from Stage 2 of the study will provide a richer, longitudinal picture of factors promoting the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal children and their families.
The Aboriginal Families Study is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.