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The importance and challenges of assessing cognition in Indigenous Australians

Dingwall, Kylie M. and Cairney, Sheree J. (2009). The importance and challenges of assessing cognition in Indigenous Australians. Australasian Psychiatry,17(S1):S47-S50.

Document type: Journal Article

IRMA ID 10998xPUB4
Title The importance and challenges of assessing cognition in Indigenous Australians
Author Dingwall, Kylie M.
Cairney, Sheree J.
Journal Name Australasian Psychiatry
Publication Date 2009
Volume Number 17
Issue Number S1
ISSN 1440-1665   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page S47
End Page S50
Total Pages 1
Place of Publication UK
Publisher Informa Healthcare
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Objectives: The aim of this paper was to investigate the importance and challenges involved in conducting serial cognitive assessments among healthy Indigenous adolescents. Method: Cognitive assessments were conducted at fortnightly intervals for 2 months and again at 6 and 12 months among a group of Indigenous students from a boarding school in the Northern Territory. These students were to be the healthy control group in a long-term study of substance abuse. Recruitment and attrition rates were reviewed and related challenges for assessing participants were identified. Results: From the recruited sample (n=49), 18% reported heavy or frequent use of alcohol, cannabis or petrol. Males were more likely to have used these substances compared to females. Attrition increased as the follow-up interval increased with 49 recruits reducing to 32 in the first 2 months and only 15 and 13 of the initial group remaining for the 6 and 12 month follow-ups respectively. Conclusions: Main challenges included (i) appropriateness of tests and assessment processes, (ii) high rates of substance abuse and other illness in the control group and (iii) high attrition rates. The importance of assessing cognition appropriately is highlighted by a lack of information regarding mental health issues in Indigenous populations.
Keywords Aboriginal
cognitive assessment
substance misuse
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Created: Wed, 24 Feb 2010, 09:21:40 CST by Sarena Wegener