‘Dudes are meant to be tough as nails’: The complex nexus between masculinities, culture and health literacy from the perspective of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males – Implications for policy and practice
American Journal of Men's Health
Health literacy is generally conceptualized as skills related to successfully navigating health – ultimately linked to well-being and improved health outcomes. Culture, gender and age are considered to be influential determinants of health literacy. The nexus between these determinants, and their collective relationship with health literacy, remains understudied, especially with respect to Indigenous people globally. This article presents findings from a recent study that examined the intersections between masculinities, culture, age and health literacy among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males, aged 14–25 years in the Northern Territory, Australia. A mixed-methods approach was utilized to engage young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males. The qualitative components included Yarning Sessions and Photovoice using Facebook, which are used in this article. Thematic Analysis and Framework Analysis were used to group and analyse the data. Ethics approval was granted by Charles Darwin University Human Research Ethics Committee (H18043). This cohort constructs a complex interface comprising Western and Aboriginal cultural paradigms, through which they navigate health. Alternative Indigenous masculinities, which embrace and resist hegemonic masculine norms simultaneously shaped this interface. External support structures – including family, friends and community engagement programs – were critical in fostering health literacy abilities among this cohort. Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males possess health literacy abilities that enable them to support the well-being of themselves and others. Health policymakers, researchers and practitioners can help strengthen and expand existing support structures for this population by listening more attentively to their unique perspectives.
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