Culturally Specific Screening Tools

Indigenous Risk Impact Screen and Brief Intervention (IRIS)

What is it?

The Indigenous Risk Impact Screen (IRIS) is a 13-item screening instrument for alcohol and drug and mental health risk among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The IRIS package consists of a culturally appropriate assessment tool for Indigenous Australians to address drug and alcohol use and mental health, and the use of a brief intervention based on Prochaska and DiClemente's Stages of Change Model.

Who Developed It?

Coralie Ober is a registered nurse, consultant and researcher. Coralie is an Islander by birth with kinship ties in the Aboriginal communities of Cherbourg, Palm Island, the Torres Strait Islander community of Saibai and Vanuatu in the Pacific Islands.

Background to Development

Coralie Ober began this work in 2003 while employed by Queensland Health in response to recommendations from both national and state reports which had identified alcohol and other drug issues as both the cause and symptom for health and environmental factors affecting the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Links to Further Information

http://www.health.qld.gov.au/atod/prevention/iris.asp

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17364845

http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:128292

http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/mentalhealth_ctte/submissions/sub181a_attach02.pdf

Broader application

The IRIS Program is included in the Australian Department of Health and Ageing - Alcohol Treatment Guidelines for Indigenous Australians.

Westerman Aboriginal Symptom Checklist - Youth (WASC-Y)

What is it?

The WASC-Y is a self-report paper-and-pencil symptom checklist measure to identify young Aboriginal people aged 13-17yrs who are at risk of anxiety, depression and suicidal behaviours. It is a culturally validated measure.

The WASC-Y comprises 53 assessments in six subscales that represent the following concepts: depression, suicidal behaviour, substance abuse, impulsivity, anxiety and cultural resilience. The checklist provides an indication of risk and was not designed to be diagnostic.

Administrators of the WASC-Y must be trained and accredited by Indigenous Psychological Services (IPS). The WASC-Y is accompanied by clinical assessment guidelines that consider culturally appropriate methods of engagement. The guidelines explain youth symptoms within the culture, a model of cultural validation to aid in the interpretation of youth self-report data against cultural views of their mental health functioning, and a model for the resolution of culture-bound disorders.

Who Developed It?

Dr Tracy Westerman, of the Nyamal people from the Port Hedland and Marble Bar area in Western Australia.

Background to Development

The Westerman Aboriginal Symptom Checklist - Youth (WASC-Y) was developed as a part of Dr Westerman's PhD 1999-2003 out of the need for an improved methodology and a non-biased assessment process that is appropriate for Aboriginal youth and has a cultural resiliency perspective.

Links to Further Information

http://www.indigenouspsychservices.com.au/research/#one

http://www.gtp.com.au/ips/inewsfiles/P1a.pd

Westerman Cultural Competence Questionnaire: An organisational tool to assess cultural competence.

What is it?

The Westerman Cultural Competence Questionnaire is used to assess the core baseline cultural competencies of those who complete the questionnaire, to design an intervention specific to respondents' needs, and then to re-assess cultural competencies at post-intervention. The questionnaire assesses 45 items in five domains. The CCT has been validated and norms established amongst 572 practitioners Australia-wide.

Who Developed It?

Dr Tracy Westerman, of the Nyamal people from the Port Hedland and Marble Bar area in Western Australia.

Background to Development

The development of the Westerman Cultural Competence Questionnaire commenced in 1998 and involved focus groups with 723 Aboriginal people to determine key factors that predict Aboriginal mental health competence in practice.

From this research, cultural competence was defined as being made up of the following key areas:

  1. Cultural Knowledge - whether there is sufficient cultural, local and mental health specific knowledge to be able to work at an effective level with Aboriginal people
  2. Skills and Abilities - does the individual have the ability to apply their skills in a way that is effective with Aboriginal mental health clients?
  3. Attitudes and Beliefs - assesses the degree of attitude and belief ‘fit' between Aboriginal client and practitioner
  4. Resources and Linkages - determines the availability of community resources and links to the practitioner, and
  5. Organisational Influences - gauges participants' views on how their organisation functions across different levels of Aboriginal mental health service delivery.

Links to Further Information

http://www.gtp.com.au/ips/inewsfiles/IPS_CCIPs_Outcomes_Brochure_email_version_2.pdf

Strong Souls: development and validation of a culturally appropriate tool for assessment of social and emotional wellbeing in Indigenous youth

What is it?

A 25-item, four-factor tool for assessing social and emotional wellbeing in Indigenous adolescents. The four factors relate to anxiety, resilience, depression and suicide risk.

Who developed it?

Alicia Thomas, Sheree Cairney, Wendy Gunthorpe, Yin Paradies and Susan Sayers.

Background to development

In 2005, this team was awarded an NHMRC Grant for the ‘Strong Souls Study' which investigated the contribution of the psychosocial environment and spiritual wellbeing to cardiovascular disease in Aboriginal youth in the Northern Territory.

In 2010, Strong Souls was selected as an appropriate tool to assess the social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) of Indigenous adolescents participating in the longitudinal Aboriginal Birth Cohort (ABC) Study and was completed by 361 participants. Strong Souls demonstrated validity, reliability and cultural appropriateness as a tool for screening for SEWB among Indigenous young people in the Northern Territory.

Links to Further Information

http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/00048670903393589

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20073566

Strong souls, safe communities: wellbeing, resilience and support.  Key Summary Report from Wave 1  Footprints in Time Study.