Conceptions of Health and Illness Held by Australian Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islanders, and Papua New Guinea Health Science Students

Boulton-Lewis, Gillian M., Pillay, Hitendra K., Wilss, Lynn A., & Lewis, David (2002) Conceptions of Health and Illness Held by Australian Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islanders, and Papua New Guinea Health Science Students. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 8(2), pp. 9-16.


Health is considered to be a fundamental human right and developing a better understanding of health is assumed to be a global social goal (Bloom, 1987). Yet many third-world countries and some sub-populations within developed countries do not enjoy a healthy existence. The research reported in this paper examined the conceptions of health and conceptions of illness for a group of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, and Papua New Guinea university students studying health science courses. Results found three conceptions of health and three conceptions of illness that indicated these students held a mix of traditional/cultural and Western beliefs. These findings may contribute to overcoming the dissonance between traditional and Western beliefs about health and the development of health care courses that are more specific to how these students understand health. This may also serve to improve the educational status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and potentially improve the health status within these communities.

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ID Code: 9615
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: For more information, please refer to the journal’s website (see hypertext link) or contact the author.
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, health, traditional beliefs, western beliefs
ISSN: 1448-7527
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified (130399)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2002 Australian Institute for Primary Care and School of Public Health, La Trobe University
Deposited On: 19 Sep 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2011 15:33

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