Emma Owen

Emma Owen

Indigenous Community Health and Wellbeing: The Case of the Mapuche in Chile


Discipline/professional area

Outline of research project

The overall aim of my thesis is to investigate the effects of displacement on the mental health of Chile's largest indigenous population, the Mapuche. The first study is quantitative using holistic definitions of mental health from positive psychology. It examines whether displacement from the indigenous environment affects elements of cultural identity. Study two adopts a qualitative approach eliciting user-generated images to explore in- depth the Mapuche unique representations of their environment, sense of identity and wellbeing. Study three consists of qualitative interviews to explore in more depth the Mapuche experiences and concepts of wellbeing. The collected data will allow new and unique understandings of the key concerns and possible healthcare interventions for working with indigenous communities. Already a representative sample of data using the above innovative approaches is contributing to knowledge of these communities.

Key references

Bacigalupo, A. M. (2010). Shamans of the foye tree: gender, power, and healing among the Chilean Mapuche. University of Texas Press.

Diener, E., Wirtz, D., Tov, W., Kim-Prieto, C., Choi. D., Oishi, S., & Biswas-Diener, R. (2009). New Measures Of Well-Being: Flourishing and Positive and Negative Feelings. Social Indicators Research, 39, 247-266.

Dudgeon, P., & Kelly, K. (2014). Contextual Factors for Research on Psychological Therapies for Aboriginal Australians. Australian Psychologist, 49(1), 8-13.

Gudynas, E. (2011). Buen vivir: today's tomorrow. Development, 54(4), 441-447.

Kingsley, J., Townsend, M., Henderson-Wilson, C., & Bolam, B. (2013). Developing An Exploratory Framework Linking Australian Aboriginal People’s Connection to Country and Concepts of Wellbeing. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 10(2), 678-698.

Mellor, D., Merino, M. E., Saiz, J. L., & Quilaqueo, D. (2009). Emotional Reactions, Coping and Long‐Term Consequences Of Perceived Discrimination Among the Mapuche People of Chile. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 19(6), 473-491.

Director of studies
Professor Ann Macaskill

Dr Laura Kilby

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