Corresponding Author

Victoria Gentile. Email: victoria.gentile@monash.edu


This study aimed to explore the relationships between experiences of perceived racism, mental health and drug and alcohol use among Aboriginal Australians.

Sixty-two Aboriginal Australians, ranging in age from 19-64 years (Mage = 33.71, SD = 12.47) and residing in Victoria completed an online questionnaire containing measures of perceived racism, alcohol use, substance use and mental health.

First, 66% of the sample reported experiencing interpersonal racism, with the highest proportion of reported experiences occurring in health settings, educational/academic settings and by staff of government agencies. Second, perceived racism was significantly associated with poorer mental health and well-being. Finally, while perceived racism was not significantly associated with substance use, there was an indirect pathway from perceived racism to substance use through mental health concerns.

The current research indicates that racism is still frequently experienced by Aboriginal Australians and is directly associated with poorer mental health, and indirectly with substance use through poorer mental health. The findings demonstrate a clear need for further research in this area.