Dudgeon, P., Bray, A., D’Costa, B., & Walker, R. (2017). Decolonising Psychology: Validating Social and Emotional Wellbeing. Australian Psychologist, 52(4), 316-325.

Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) is a multifaceted concept that acknowledges that a person’s wellbeing is determined by a range of inter-related domains: body, mind and emotions, family and kinship, community, culture, Country, and spirituality. This paper explores the meaning of these seven domains of SEWB.

A thematic analysis of qualitative data obtained from the National Empowerment Project (NEP) was conducted, along with a literature review of each domain.

Findings from the NEP, together with relevant literature, indicate that implementing strategies that focus on strengthening SEWB is important for individual, family, and community wellbeing. Addressing the social determinants of Indigenous disadvantage is also shown to have an important role in strengthening the SEWB of individuals, families, and communities.

It is important for all practitioners and policymakers involved with improving Indigenous health to recognise the seven inter-related domains of SEWB and to acknowledge and support people in addressing the social determinants of wellbeing.