Wadamba Wilam is an intensive outreach support service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experiencing homelessness and mental health problems in the Darebin and Whittlesea regions of Melbourne. Recently staff from Wadamba Wilam approached psychologist Graham Gee with an interest in using the Aboriginal Resilience and Recovery Questionnaire (ARRQ) as a culturally sensitive strengths based assessment tool.
As part of his PhD research on resilience and trauma recovery, Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) psychologist Graham Gee found that adult Aboriginal help-seeking clients attending the counselling service reported high rates of trauma exposure, depression, drug and alcohol use, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, a review of the Indigenous resilience and trauma recovery literature indicated that there were no free for use, public health quantitative resilience measures developed specifically for adult Aboriginal populations that could be used to systematically examine resilience and recovery.
Graham developed the (ARRQ and found that personal and relational-cultural strengths were both negatively associated with trauma and depression symptom severity, and drug and alcohol use, while global strength scores on the ARRQ moderated the relationship between trauma exposure and trauma symptom severity. This finding is consistent with the proposition that if Aboriginal help-seeking clients can be supported to re-source, build, and access enough personal, relational and cultural strengths, these may buffer the impact of past trauma exposure.
This study is designed to explore validation of the ARRQ. Validation of the questionnaire will provide a free-to-use, public health, strength-based measure that Aboriginal community-controlled, and other relevant organizations, can use to assist in areas such as assessment of clients and program evaluations.