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Using participatory action research to co-design perinatal support strategies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents experiencing complex trauma

Reid, C., Gee, G., Bennetts, S.K., Clark, Y., Atkinson, C., Dyall, D., Nicholson, J.M. and Chamberlain, C. (2021) Using participatory action research to co-design perinatal support strategies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents experiencing complex trauma. Women and Birth .

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Free to read: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2021.12.005
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Abstract

Problem & background

Support is important for all parents but critical for those experiencing complex trauma. The The Healing the Past by Nurturing the Future project uses participatory action research to co-design effective perinatal support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents.

Aim

This research aims to identify and refine culturally appropriate support strategies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents experiencing complex trauma.

Design

We presented our synthesised eight parent support goals and 60 strategies, collated from Elder and parent focus groups, previous participatory workshops, and evidence reviews, for discussion at a stakeholder workshop. Stakeholder perspectives were captured using a three-point agreement activity and, self- and scribe-recorded comments. Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal researchers analysised the qualitative data, to identify core factors which might facilitate or help enact the parenting related goals.

Findings

Overall, stakeholders (n = 37) strongly endorsed all eight goals. Workshop attendees (57% Aboriginal) represented multiple stakeholder roles including Elder, parent and service provider. Four core factors were identified as crucial for supporting parents to heal from complex trauma: Culture (cultural traditions, practices and strengths), Relationality (family, individual, community and services), Safety (frameworks, choice and control) and Timing (the right time socio-emotionally and stage of parenting).

Discussion

Context-specific support tailored to the Culture, Relationality, Safety, and Timing needs of parents is essential. These four factors are important elements to help enact or facilitate parenting support strategies.

Conclusion

Further work is now required to develop practical resources for parents, and to implement and evaluate these strategies in perinatal care to address cumulative and compounding cycles of intergenerational trauma.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Ngangk Yira Research Centre for Aboriginal Health and Social Equity
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd on behalf of Australian College of Midwives
Copyright: © 2021 The Authors.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/63450
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