Background: Understandings of health and wellbeing are culturally bound. Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people perceive wellbeing and quality of life (QOL) differently from the Western biomedical models of health underpinning existing QOL instruments. Any instrument to measure the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be culturally appropriate and safe, include relevant dimensions, and be informed by their own values and preferences. Existing QOL instruments do not meet these standards. This study will generate a new preference-based wellbeing measure, WM2Adults, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults, underpinned by their values and preferences.
Methods: A mixed methods approach will be used; we will employ decolonising methodologies, privilege Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices and perspectives, and adopt a strengths-based approach rather than a deficit lens. Yarning Circles will be conducted with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia. A candidate item pool will be developed from these data, on which psychometric analysis and validity testing will be undertaken to develop a descriptive system. Following finalisation of the descriptive system, wellbeing states will be valued using a quantitative preference-based approach (best-worst scaling) with a diverse sample of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults (n = 1000). A multinomial (conditional) logit framework will be used to analyse responses and generate a scoring algorithm for the new preference-based WM2Adults measure.
Discussion: The new wellbeing measure will have wide applicability in assessing the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of new programs and services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Results will be disseminated through journals, conferences and policy forums, and will be shared with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, organisations and research participants.