Charles Darwin University

CDU eSpace
Institutional Repository

CDU Staff and Student only

Health, illness and behaviour : Walpiri men's experience in a Central Australian community

Watson, Colin (2005). Health, illness and behaviour : Walpiri men's experience in a Central Australian community. PhD Thesis, Charles Darwin University.

Document type: Thesis
Citation counts: Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Attached Files (Some files may be inaccessible until you login with your CDU eSpace credentials)
Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Download this reading Thesis_CDU_6506_Watson_C.pdf PDF scanned and generated by CDU application/pdf 4.39MB 188
Reading the attached file works best in Firefox, Chrome and IE 9 or later.

Author Watson, Colin
Title Health, illness and behaviour : Walpiri men's experience in a Central Australian community
Institution Charles Darwin University
Publication Date 2005
Thesis Type PhD
Subjects 1199 - Other Medical and Health Sciences
Abstract The Warlpiri, an Aboriginal people of Central Australia, like other Aboriginal Australians face considerable health challenges. This research project examined the factors that impede Warlpiri men's use of health services. It is known that the indicators of poor health status in Aboriginal men are many times greater than that of other Australian men. Despite these health deficits, the utilization of health services and the reporting of illness by Warlpiri men tend to be low.

The research was undertaken at Nyirrpi, a Warlpiri community located in the western deserts of Central Australia. A critical ethnographic methodology that included qualitative and quantitative inquiry was used to conduct this research. Multiple strategies of inquiry including health record analysis, interviews, reflective field diary and observations enabled an understanding of Nyirrpi men's experience to be developed.

A descriptive analysis of the health status of Nyirrpi men was undertaken using clinic records. This revealed high levels of chronic disease in both men and women. Analysis of clinic attendance revealed markedly lower rates of clinic utilization for men. In-depth semi-structured interviews were used to investigate the knowledge and beliefs about health and illness and health service issues pertinent to Aboriginal men.

The welfare of young Warlpiri men was identified as an area of concern. The path that men take to treatment was examined in order to understand delays in help-seeking. Nyirrpi men universally reported shame as inhibiting access to health services. The causes of this shame are complex and are reported here in detail. Language emerged as a profound factor in the conduct of this research. This has implications well beyond the research arena.

Whilst the behaviors demonstrated by Warlpiri men are similar to those reported by men in the Australian community, generally the mechanisms behind them are different. The concepts of homosociality and homophobia are used to explain these differences.

© copyright

Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in CDU eSpace. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact

Version Filter Type
Access Statistics: 132 Abstract Views, 188 File Downloads  -  Detailed Statistics
Created: Thu, 18 Sep 2008, 09:44:41 CST