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"You've got to make it relevant": barriers and ways forward for assessing cognition in Aboriginal clients

Dingwall, Kylie M., Lindeman, Melissa A. and Cairney, Sheree (2014). "You've got to make it relevant": barriers and ways forward for assessing cognition in Aboriginal clients. BMC Psychology,2(Article No. 13).

Document type: Journal Article
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IRMA ID 84473293xPUB127
Title "You've got to make it relevant": barriers and ways forward for assessing cognition in Aboriginal clients
Author Dingwall, Kylie M.
Lindeman, Melissa A.
Cairney, Sheree
Journal Name BMC Psychology
Publication Date 2014
Volume Number 2
Issue Number Article No. 13
ISSN 2050-7283   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Total Pages 11
Place of Publication United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed Central Ltd.
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract Background
Reliable cognitive assessment for non-western cultures is difficult given that mainstream tests typically rely on western concepts, content and values. Despite recognition of the scarcity of appropriate tests for Aboriginal people over many years, limited practical development has occurred. This study aimed to identify barriers to assessment for clinicians working with Aboriginal people in a remote context, and evaluate characteristics of assessments that clinicians considered to be more or less appropriate and thereby identify potential ways forward.


Semi-structured interviews with 22 health professionals working with Aboriginal clients in central and northern Australia enquired about cognitive assessment practices for Aboriginal people. Themes related to common barriers, useful approaches and areas of need are reported.


Results demonstrated that engagement, diversity and the lack of appropriate resources were seen as the most significant barriers to effective assessment. Appropriate tools should be visually engaging, brief, portable, relevant, focus on identifying strengths and cater to diversity whilst also being standardised and scientifically valid.


Despite the obvious challenges, further development is required to increase available resources and evidence base. Specifically, assessments suitable for younger populations and measuring substance misuse related impairments and change over time in a clinical setting were highlighted as important areas of need. A comprehensive assessment should include collection of data from multiple sources with clear interpretation guidelines.
Keywords Cognitive assessment
DOI   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
Additional Notes This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Description for Link Link to CC Attribution 2.0 License

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