Maternal death and the onward psychosocial circumstances of Australian Aboriginal children and young people

Stephen Zubrick, F Mitrou, David Lawrence, Sven Silburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: This study sought to determine the social and emotional impact of maternal loss on Aboriginal children and young people using data from the Western Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey (WAACHS).

METHOD: Data were from a population-based random sample of 5289 Aboriginal children aged under 18 years. Interview data about the children were gathered from primary carers and from their school teachers. Probabilistic record linkage to death registrations was used to ascertain deaths. Association between maternal death and subsequent psychosocial outcomes was assessed using univariate analyses and logistic regression.

RESULTS: Of the 5289 Aboriginal children, 57 had experienced the death of their birth mother prior to the survey. Multi-variable adjustment accounting for age and gender found that, relative to children who were living with their birth mother, children whose birth mother had died were at higher risk for sniffing glue or other substances [odds ratio (OR) 3.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3-8.7], using other drugs (OR 2.8, 95% CI 1.2-6.8), talking about suicide (OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.2-5.7) and attempting suicide (OR 7.0, 95% CI 1.6-31.1).

CONCLUSIONS: Although the death of a birth mother is relatively rare and the vast majority of Aboriginal children with adverse developmental outcomes live in families and are cared for by their birth mother, the findings here suggest that the loss of a birth mother and the circumstances arising from this impart a level of onward developmental risk for mental health morbidity in Australian Aboriginal children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1971-1980
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological Medicine
Volume41
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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Maternal Death
Mothers
Parturition
Odds Ratio
Confidence Intervals
Suicide
Inhalant Abuse
Social Adjustment
Health Surveys
Caregivers
Mental Health
Logistic Models
Interviews
Morbidity

Cite this

Zubrick, Stephen ; Mitrou, F ; Lawrence, David ; Silburn, Sven. / Maternal death and the onward psychosocial circumstances of Australian Aboriginal children and young people. In: Psychological Medicine. 2011 ; Vol. 41. pp. 1971-1980.
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abstract = "BACKGROUND: This study sought to determine the social and emotional impact of maternal loss on Aboriginal children and young people using data from the Western Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey (WAACHS).METHOD: Data were from a population-based random sample of 5289 Aboriginal children aged under 18 years. Interview data about the children were gathered from primary carers and from their school teachers. Probabilistic record linkage to death registrations was used to ascertain deaths. Association between maternal death and subsequent psychosocial outcomes was assessed using univariate analyses and logistic regression.RESULTS: Of the 5289 Aboriginal children, 57 had experienced the death of their birth mother prior to the survey. Multi-variable adjustment accounting for age and gender found that, relative to children who were living with their birth mother, children whose birth mother had died were at higher risk for sniffing glue or other substances [odds ratio (OR) 3.4, 95{\%} confidence interval (CI) 1.3-8.7], using other drugs (OR 2.8, 95{\%} CI 1.2-6.8), talking about suicide (OR 2.6, 95{\%} CI 1.2-5.7) and attempting suicide (OR 7.0, 95{\%} CI 1.6-31.1).CONCLUSIONS: Although the death of a birth mother is relatively rare and the vast majority of Aboriginal children with adverse developmental outcomes live in families and are cared for by their birth mother, the findings here suggest that the loss of a birth mother and the circumstances arising from this impart a level of onward developmental risk for mental health morbidity in Australian Aboriginal children.",
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Maternal death and the onward psychosocial circumstances of Australian Aboriginal children and young people. / Zubrick, Stephen; Mitrou, F; Lawrence, David; Silburn, Sven.

In: Psychological Medicine, Vol. 41, 2011, p. 1971-1980.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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T1 - Maternal death and the onward psychosocial circumstances of Australian Aboriginal children and young people

AU - Zubrick, Stephen

AU - Mitrou, F

AU - Lawrence, David

AU - Silburn, Sven

PY - 2011

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N2 - BACKGROUND: This study sought to determine the social and emotional impact of maternal loss on Aboriginal children and young people using data from the Western Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey (WAACHS).METHOD: Data were from a population-based random sample of 5289 Aboriginal children aged under 18 years. Interview data about the children were gathered from primary carers and from their school teachers. Probabilistic record linkage to death registrations was used to ascertain deaths. Association between maternal death and subsequent psychosocial outcomes was assessed using univariate analyses and logistic regression.RESULTS: Of the 5289 Aboriginal children, 57 had experienced the death of their birth mother prior to the survey. Multi-variable adjustment accounting for age and gender found that, relative to children who were living with their birth mother, children whose birth mother had died were at higher risk for sniffing glue or other substances [odds ratio (OR) 3.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3-8.7], using other drugs (OR 2.8, 95% CI 1.2-6.8), talking about suicide (OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.2-5.7) and attempting suicide (OR 7.0, 95% CI 1.6-31.1).CONCLUSIONS: Although the death of a birth mother is relatively rare and the vast majority of Aboriginal children with adverse developmental outcomes live in families and are cared for by their birth mother, the findings here suggest that the loss of a birth mother and the circumstances arising from this impart a level of onward developmental risk for mental health morbidity in Australian Aboriginal children.

AB - BACKGROUND: This study sought to determine the social and emotional impact of maternal loss on Aboriginal children and young people using data from the Western Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey (WAACHS).METHOD: Data were from a population-based random sample of 5289 Aboriginal children aged under 18 years. Interview data about the children were gathered from primary carers and from their school teachers. Probabilistic record linkage to death registrations was used to ascertain deaths. Association between maternal death and subsequent psychosocial outcomes was assessed using univariate analyses and logistic regression.RESULTS: Of the 5289 Aboriginal children, 57 had experienced the death of their birth mother prior to the survey. Multi-variable adjustment accounting for age and gender found that, relative to children who were living with their birth mother, children whose birth mother had died were at higher risk for sniffing glue or other substances [odds ratio (OR) 3.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3-8.7], using other drugs (OR 2.8, 95% CI 1.2-6.8), talking about suicide (OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.2-5.7) and attempting suicide (OR 7.0, 95% CI 1.6-31.1).CONCLUSIONS: Although the death of a birth mother is relatively rare and the vast majority of Aboriginal children with adverse developmental outcomes live in families and are cared for by their birth mother, the findings here suggest that the loss of a birth mother and the circumstances arising from this impart a level of onward developmental risk for mental health morbidity in Australian Aboriginal children.

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