issue 2 08 - APS Member Groups - Australian Psychological Society

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issue 2 08 - APS Member Groups - Australian Psychological Society

2Office Bearers of the APS College Of Community PsychologistsChairpersonEx OfficioSecretaryTreasurerGrace PrettyQueenslandHeather GridleyVictoriaMeg SmithNew South WalesPam LoughnanVictoriaProgramme Accreditation Lynne CohenWestern AustraliaProfessional Development Di ClarkeNew South WalesMembership SecretaryStudent RepresentativesCatherine D'ArcyVictoriaCarol TutchenerVictoria UniversityAnne SibbelEdith Cowan UniversityState ChairsAnne SibbelWestern AustraliaDi ClarkNew South WalesJulie DeanQueenslandCatherine DÁrcyEmma SampsonVictoriaACP Editorial BoardLauren BreenAnne SibbelMeg SmithCarol TutchenerTahereh ZiaianPublished byThe College of Community Psychologists of the Australian Psychological Society LtdISSN 1835-7393Disclaimer: “The publication of an advertisement by ACP is not an endorsement of the Advertiser nor of the products and servicesadvertised. Only those professional development activities carrying the APS logo and an appropriate endorsement statement can beconsidered to be specifically approved by the APS. Advertisers may not incorporate in a subsequent advertisement or promotional piecethe fact that a product or service has been advertised in any publication of the society. The publications of the College are published for andon behalf of the membership to advance psychology as a science and as a profession. The College reserves the right to unilaterally cancel orreject advertising which is not deemed to be in keeping with its scientific and professional aims”.The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


ContentsContents 3General Information 4EditorialLauren Breen 5PapersCommunity Psychologies: What are they? What could they be? Why does it matter?A Critical Community Psychology Approach 7David Fryer and Adele LaingResisting Refugee Policy: Stress and Coping of Refugee Advocates 16Nadya Surawski, Anne Pedersen and Linda BriskmanTogether but Separated: The Acculturation Experience of Latin American Womenin Australia 30Romina Iebra Aizpurúa and Adrian T. FisherPsychological Sense of Community as a Framework to Explore Adolescence andneighbourhoods 44Lyn O’Grady and Adrian FisherTuned In Parenting (TIP): A Collaborative Approach to ImprovingParent-child Relationships 58Lynn E. Priddis, Gail Wells, Kathie Dore, Janelle Booker and Noel HowiesonRelationships in Remote Communities: Implications for Living in Remote Australia 74Bernard Guerin and Pauline GuerinTextbook Answers? 87Bróna Nic Giolla Easpaig and David FryerBook ReviewsFoucault, Psychology and the Analytics of Power 94Author: Derek HookDamien W. RiggsInternational community psychology: History and theoriesEditors: S. M. Reich, M. Riemer, I. Prilleltensky & M. Montero 97Brian BishopPreparation, Submission and Publication of Manuscripts 1013The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


General Information4The Australian Community Psychologist is the Official Journal of the College of CommunityPsychologists of the Australian Psychological SocietyEditorLauren Breen, Centre for Social Research, Edith Cowan University, Western AustraliaProduction EditorAnne Sibbel, Reflective Practice, Western AustraliaEditorial BoardMeg Smith, Social Justice and Social Change, University of Western SydneyCarol Tutchener, St Kilda Youth ServiceTahereh Ziaian, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of South AustraliaADVERTISING RATESFull page $1001/2 page $501/4 page $25INSERTSAll inserts must be trimmed and folded to at least 5mm lessthan the dimensions of the Australian Community Psychologist.A single sheet or brochure equivalent to 1 A4 page $50.All payments to be made out to:APS College of Community PsychologistsThe Australian Psychological SocietyPO Box 38Flinders Lane Post OfficeMelbourne Vic 8009Current and past issues of ACP can be accessed through Australia’s web archive system PANDORA( http://pandora.nla.gov.au/tep/84823)PANDORA is an initiative of the Australian National Library in conjunction with nine othercollections. The name is an acronym derived from its mission: Preserving and AccessingNetworked Documentary Resources of Australia.The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Editorial5Lauren BreenWelcome to the latest issue ofAustralian Community Psychologist (ACP).This issue is the first to be produced by thenew Editorial Board consisting of myself (asEditor), Carol Tutchener (St Kilda YouthService), Meg Smith (University of WesternSydney), Tahereh Ziaian (University of SouthAustralia) and Anne Sibbel (ReflectivePractice). I am very excited to be Editor, butI take on the role with some trepidation asDawn Darlaston-Jones has left some(figuratively) large shoes to fill. I also want toacknowledge and thank Dawn for her work inmanaging the review process of one paperincluded in this issue.In recent years, the journal hasdeveloped in leaps and bounds under Dawn’sdirection. The journal has gained an ISSN, isindexed in PANDORA, an Australiandatabase and initiative of the AustralianNational Library (http://pandora.nla.gov.au/tep/84823) and moved to its current on-lineformat, and as a result, is disseminated to andaccessed by an international audience. Whilestill maintaining a very local flavour, thejournal has included articles from the UnitedKingdom, Canada, New Zealand/Aotearoa,and the United States. The journal is alsolisted in the Excellent in Research inAustralia (ERA) journal rankings (http://www.arc.gov.au/era/indicators.htm).Whether we like it or not, metrics-basedratings systems are used to assess the impactand quality of research. My concern withthese systems is that researchers workingwithin emerging fields or from nontraditionalepistemologies andmethodologies may experience greaterdifficulties in promoting the quality of theirresearch, gaining competitive funding, andachieving promotion, which furthermarginalises already marginalised research(ers) and further strengthens the status quo(Cheek, Garnham, & Quan, 2006; Rappaport,2005). Indeed, the ‘research enterprise’ is andincreasingly entrepreneurial wherebyresearchers are ‘rewarded’ for maintaining theprevailing state of affairs. The ERA initiative isdesigned to prevent any advantage of onediscipline or study area over others (Carr, 2008;Universities Australia, 2008), but the extent towhich it will be successful in achieving equityremains to be seen. It is it is however importantthat the journal is included in the rankingsystem.This general issue brings together sevenpapers from around Australia and the world.First, David Fryer and Adele Laing apply acritical community psychology framework topose and answer some questions concerning thedefinitions and uses of community psychology.They warn of the increasing colonisation ofindigenous community psychologies and of theincongruence between critical communitypsychology theory and practice. Theirtheoretical examination is followed by fiveempirical papers. Nadya Surawski, AnnePedersen, and Linda Briskman tackle animportant yet under-researched topic – theimpact of acting as a refugee advocate – and indoing so, make an important addition to theliterature. They demonstrate the financial,emotional, and interpersonal effects of acting asa refugee advocate in Australia. The risk ofburnout and potential for long-term harm hasimplications for advocates’ ability to continuein this role in the face of adversarialgovernment policy. Romina Iebra Aizpurúa andAdrian Fisher present their study of theacculturation experiences of Latin Americanwomen in Australia and demonstrate thatacculturation is a lengthy and ongoing processrather than short-term and finite. Lyn O’Gradyand Adrian Fisher utilise an innovativemethodology, Photovoice, to privilege theperspectives and experiences of young peopleand their neighbourhoods. Lynn Priddis, GailWells, Kathie Dore, Janelle Booker, and NoelHowieson describe a collaborative communitydevelopment partnership between a universityThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Editorial6team and a community organisation aiming toimprove parent-infant relationships. Theprogramme was evaluated as successful andhas been incorporated into the communityorganisation’s suite of services.These empirical papers are followed bytwo more theoretical papers. Bernard andPauline Guerin reflect upon the formation andmaintenance of relationships in remoteAustralian communities and illustrate thatworking with remote communities requires anunderstanding of remote relationships,accessible service delivery, and thesustainability of these services. Finally, BrónaNic Giolla Easpaig and David Fryer considerthe psychology textbook. They show thatpsychology textbooks have tended to becomplicit in constructing ‘truths’ about genderand reinforcing oppression, yet alsodemonstrate their potential to subvertpatriarchy and heterosexuality. These diversepapers are followed by two book reviews –Damien Riggs reviews Derek Hook’sFoucault, Psychology and the Analytics ofPower and Brian Bishop reviews InternationalCommunity Psychology: History and Theories,edited by Stephanie Reich, Manuel Reimer,Isaac Prilleltensky and Maritza Montero.Generating an issue of AustralianCommunity Psychologist requires the work ofmany individuals, and this issue is noexception. I’d like to acknowledge and thankall of the contributing authors, the manuscriptreviewers, the Editorial Board, and the Collegeof Community Psychologists’ nationalcommittee.In keeping with attempts to produce aspecial issue and a general issue every year,the first issue of 2009 will be a special issuedevoted to showcasing the work of students. Iencourage current and recent students, atundergraduate or postgraduate level, toconsider submitting a manuscript. Manuscriptsmay be of a theoretical or empirical focus andmay be drawn from research or practice. Forexample, manuscripts might be derived fromresearch projects and theses, courseworkassignments (individual or group-based), andreflections on practice issues. Please emailmanuscripts to me by January 15, 2009.ReferencesCarr, K. (2008). New ERA for research quality.Retrieved Aril 14, 2008, from http://minister.industry.gov.au/SenatortheHonKimCarr/Pages/NEWERAFORRESEARCHQUALITY.aspxCheek, J., Garnham, B., & Quan, J. (2006).What’s in a number? Issues in providingevidence of impact and quality of research(ers). Qualitative Health Research, 16, 423-435.Rappaport, J. (2005). Community psychology is(thank God) more than science. AmericanJournal of Community Psychology, 35, 231-238.Universities Australia. (2008). A welcome newERA in transparent research qualityassurance. Retrieved April 14, 2008 fromhttp://www.universitiesaustralia.edu.au/content.asp?page=/news/media_releases/2008/uniaus_media_04_08.htmAddress correspondence toLauren J. Breen, PhD, MAPSCentre for Social ResearchSchool of Psychology and Social ScienceEdith Cowan Universityemail: l.breen@ecu.edu.auThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


7Community Psychologies: What are they? What could they be?Why does it matter? A Critical Community Psychology ApproachDavid FryerUniversity of Stirling, ScotlandAdele LaingUniversity of Glasgow, ScotlandWhat is community psychology? Whilstsome might assume this, superficiallystraightforward, question could be adequatelyanswered by citing a definition given by aninfluential community psychologist, a populartext book author, quoting from a website suchas that of the Society for Community Researchand Action(http://www.scra27.org/) or aneditorial statement in a journal like this, weregard community psychology as part of thecritical project within which authority isproblematised and contested so, rather thangiving an answer to the question “What iscommunity psychology?”, we problematise thequestion itself and use the process ofproblematising to construct understanding ofmanifestations of community psychologywhich are part of the problem or part of thesolution as far as understanding and contestingpopular oppression are concerned.Rather than seeking immediate answersto the question “What is communitypsychology?” we are ultimately interested inanswers to the critical questions: Who has theauthority to construct ‘communitypsychology’? How can such authority beresisted? Through which social processes isthat authority achieved i.e., by virtue of whatand whom is that authority constructed andlegitimated? Whose interests are served by thevarious constructions of communitypsychology achieved through the deploymentof, or resistance to, that authority?There are many, very different, sets ofconcepts, techniques and practices which havebeen positioned through the deployment ofdifferent discourses as ‘communitypsychology’ by different interest groups atdifferent times in different places. Just toconfine ourselves for now to textbooks ofcommunity psychology written by academics,we have read such textbooks claiming toexplicate community psychology by academicsfrom: the United Kingdom (e.g., Orford, 1992,2008); South Africa (e.g., Seedat, Duncan &Lazarus, 2001); New Zealand and Australia(e.g., Thomas & Veno, 1992, 1996) and theUnites States of American (e.g., Dalton, Elias &Wandersman, 2001; Nelson & Prilleltensky,2005; Rappaport, 1977).What is constructed as communitypsychology in one textbook is sometimes ratherdifferent from, and sometimes rather similar to,that presented in another textbook. Even withinone country, what is presented as communitypsychology at one time in that country’stextbooks is often very different from thatpresented at another time in other textbooks.For example, compare community psychologyas explicated in Rappaport (1977) and Nelsonand Prilleltensky (2005). The same textbookauthor may present different versions ofcommunity psychology at different times suchas when textbooks are revised (for example, seethe two versions of the text book by Orford,1992, 2008). On the other hand, differenttextbook authors writing at the same time indifferent countries sometimes present verydifferent versions of community psychology.For example, compare Seedat, Duncan andLazarus (2001) with Dalton et al. (2001).Sometimes textbook authors writing at differenttimes in different countries explicatesurprisingly similar versions of communitypsychology. For example, compare Rappaport(1977), and Orford (1992). To make it evenmore complicated, sometimes there are obvioussimilarities between different accounts indifferent places and what are superficiallydifferent accounts are revealed on closerexamination to be surprisingly similar at adeeper level, for example, Dalton et al. (2001)The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Community psychologies8and Nelson and Prilleltensky (2005).Since there are a variety of communitypsychologies constructed differently indifferent textbooks published by variousauthors at different times in different places, itis clear that there are diverse communitypsychologies and clear that differentcommunity psychologies, like other socialphenomena, are products of the time, place andconditions of their construction. This raises thequestion as to which, if any, should be takenseriously by whom, why and for whatpurposes?However, definitions of communitypsychology are merely one conventional wayin academia in which various communitypsychologies are explicitly constructed,maintained and legitimated in formal texts.There are also myriad less obvious, implicit,ways in which community psychologies areconstructed. These are sometimes explicit andsometimes implicit. However, being explicit orimplicit is not, from a critical perspective, justa matter of specificity of prose but also relatesto whether the accounts are positioned withindominant or subjugated discourses. Bringingthese to critical awareness, or surfacing themis, in part, a function of the extent to whichreaders’ subjectivities are saturated by, ormanifestations of internalised, dominantdiscourses and the extent to which collectivecritical literacy has been facilitated by radicalreflexivity, popular education,conscientisation, etc. Reading a textbook ofcommunity psychology is, in other words, anactive process involving critical processing ofdiscourse and the ‘surfacing’ of communitypsychologies constructed within and throughthose discourses.Although, we have concerned ourselvesso far only with textbooks, the later are not theonly nor the prime means through whichcommunity psychologies are constructed andlegitimated: different community psychologiesare also produced in and through presentations,journal articles, lecture courses, DVDs,conversations, IT forums, email, papers likethis and also techniques, practices andprocedures.Because it gets so long-winded to keeplisting textbooks, journal articles, lecture series,techniques, practices and procedures, etc., inthis paper we refer to them all as ‘texts’. Ineveryday language ‘text’ is usually used to referonly to what is written but within Foucauldianapproaches ‘text’ is used more widely to referto any interconnected tissue of symbols.By referring to community psychologiesbeing ‘produced in’ diverse texts, we aredistancing ourselves from any suggestion thatthe relation between community psychologiesand texts is anything other than an active one ofenactment and emphasising that communitypsychologies are actively constructed out ofsocially given materials including discursiveresources.There are, then, many differentcommunity psychologies. However they are notall as prominent. Some are more dominant thanothers: some are repeated more frequently, withmore force, in contexts positioned as moreauthoritative within dominant discourses etc.than others. The dominance of these communitypsychologies has little to do with ‘truth’ or‘reality’ or effectiveness, in the orthodox senseof these terms, but everything to do with thecultural and political power to dictate of thosewho promote them.The question with which we started out,“What is community psychology?”, has nowturned through the process of problematisinginto a far more complicated and interesting setof questions. What socially constructed andmaintained community psychologies, whetherexplicitly defined or implicit in diverse texts,practices and procedures, can be surfaced?Which accounts are dominant as opposed tosubjugated? How has this dominance beenachieved and maintained? How are accountsgiven the status of knowledge of what is thecase, or as we prefer to put it, how are they‘truthed’? What are the power implications ofthis knowledge? Which local and wider social,political, economic and other interests areThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Community psychologies9served by these various communitypsychologies 1 ?Let us now ask some of these questionsof one of the currently dominant communitypsychologies: United Statesian (we use thisterm to avoid using the term ‘American’ as thecommunity psychologies constructed by – atleast some – Central and South Americans areradically different from how those constructedby many United Statesians).The dominant US communitypsychology, which has been sociallyconstructed and maintained, explicitly orimplicitly, in many ‘texts’, and which islegitimated by many narratives, such as theclaim that community psychology emerged inthe USA in the 1960s out of US domesticpolitical events (Fryer, 2008a), serves theinterests of US community psychology andthus also the interests of those who benefitfrom that. It is important to be clear that, fromour critical community psychologyperspective, when it is asked whose interestsare served by US community psychology, thisis not meant in just the narrow sense of whichUS individuals (authors) or sub-groups of USpsychologists benefit personally. The interestsserved go way beyond those of UnitedStatesian community psychologists to those ofpowerful groups who benefit from thingsstaying the same oppressive way they are dueto the generally acritical and ideologicallyreactionary nature of US communitypsychology.United Statesian community psychologyis very powerful in many ways and text bookversions of what community psychology is,which are ideologically anchored in theindividualistic ‘culture’ of the USA have beenpowerfully exported and have found their waysinto many other community psychologiesthrough processes which constitute, essentially,intellectual and cultural colonialism.The USA globally dominates communitypsychology textbook and journal production.The USA has a relatively large and effectiveprofessional organisation in the Society forCommunity Research and Action whichpromotes the interests of US communitypsychologists. The USA has more postgraduatecommunity psychology training courses thanany other nation, more money to fundstudentships and thus more potential to attractoverseas students, train them in US communitypsychology then export them, together with theUS version of community psychology back totheir countries of origin as communitypsychology ‘cuckoos’. The USA has morecommunity psychology academic staff than anyother nation and these US staff have,collectively, greater access to more resources toenable them to travel the world professing UScommunity psychology than staff fromanywhere else. US community psychology hasthe resources to e-dominate communitypsychology globally via discussion lists (withtheir disciplinary function) electronic‘platforms’, and the use of IT (e.g., an attemptby community psychologists in the USA to use‘You Tube’ as a means to promote communitypsychology amongst young people).Put bluntly, the USA has the resourcesand personnel to promote its communitypsychology in exactly the same way that itpromotes its soft drinks industry, fast foodindustry and film industry. The ideologicaldomination of community psychology byUnited Statesian versions of communitypsychology is arguably just anothermanifestation of United Statesian globalmilitary, economic, cultural and intellectualdomination.There is a risk of USA communitypsychology obliterating diverse thriving modelsfor community psychology in other parts of theworld, for example, in South Africa, South andCentral America, supplanting fledgling decolonisingapproaches of communitypsychology found in the practices of indigenouspeoples, for example, in New Zealand andAustralia and also, we believe, in Europe.As an example of US communitypsychological colonisation, consider the "2ndInternational Conference on CommunityThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Community psychologies10Psychology: Building Participative,Empowering and Diverse Communities –Visioning Community Psychology in aworldwide perspective" which was held inLisbon, Portugal from 4-6 June 2008,following on from the first in this series inPuerto Rico. Whilst there have been a numberof conferences with international attendanceorganised in Australia/New Zealand (theTrans-Tasman biennials), in the USA (SCRABiennials) and in Europe (BiennialConferences of the European Network ofCommunity Psychology – now superceded bythe European Community PsychologyAssociation), the 2 nd International Conferenceon Community Psychology in Lisbon couldclaim to be more international than most. Afterall, its Organising Committee was composedof members from Australia, Canada, Chile,Japan, Portugal, Puerto Rico, South Africa,Spain, UK and the USA, and its ScientificCommittee was composed of members fromAustralia (Chair), Brazil, Chile, Columbia,Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Puerto Rico,South Africa, Spain, USA and Venezuela.Turning to content, the programme of the 2ndInternational Conference on CommunityPsychology in Lisbon included over 350verbal presentations and over 130 posterpresentations whose abstracts referred tocontributors from at least 30 countriesincluding Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile,Columbia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece,Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico,Mozambique, New Zealand, Norway,Palestine, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico,Mexico, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain,Sweden, Turkey, UK, USA and Venezuela.However, having people from a varietyof countries serving on high status conferencecommittees or traveling to a conference to readpapers does not necessarily mean that aconference is international in any senseimportant to community psychology, any morethan Hollywood film stars jetting around theworld to attend film premieres and galascreenings means that the USA film industry isinternational.It is noteworthy that the 2nd InternationalConference on Community Psychology sub-title(“Visioning Community Psychology in aworldwide perspective”) closely echoed recentpreoccupations of the United Statesian Societyfor Community Research and Action (SCRA)with ‘visioning’ in general (Wolff, 2006); “TheVision” currently dominating the SCRAwebsite in particular and other SCRAactivities 3 .It is also noteworthy that six of the sevenpre-conference 'Institutes' before the Lisbonconference were run by United Statesians; thatthe only Keynote Address at Lisbon was givenby a United Statesian; that three out of the eight'Thematic Keynotes' were given by UnitedStatesians; and that one in five of allpresentations at Lisbon were given by UnitedStatesians, although the USA was only one inthirty of the countries represented at theconference.However, for us, the major problem withUSA domination of community psychology isnot limited to its tendency to obliterate diversitywith a mono-cultural vision but that, from ourcritical standpoint, much of the communitypsychology exported/promoted by the USA isideologically problematic. Despite adoption of aprogressive rhetoric, much US communitypsychology is individualistic, naivelyethnocentric, increasingly formulaic, acriticaland hardly distinguishable from the mainstreamdiscipline, especially in practice. Much of UScommunity psychology is, in other words,effectively acritical mainstream psychologybusiness as usual.It would be easy to illustrate this byreference to one of the many parochial,acritical, US text books of communitypsychology. However, instead we focus on oneof the strongest and, rhetorically at least, mostcritical textbooks produced by communitypsychology editors who are widely regarded asbeing amongst the most critically oriented ofcommunity psychologists in North America.Isaac Prilleltensky and Geoff Nelson have beenThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Community psychologies11responsible for a series of critical publicationsincluding The Morals and Politics ofPsychology: Psychological Discourse and theStatus Quo (1994), Community Psychology: InPursuit of Liberation and Well-being (2005)and Doing Psychology Critically: Making aDifference in Diverse Settings (2002).Nelson and Prilleltensky’s (2005)community psychology textbook, CommunityPsychology: In Pursuit of Liberation and WellBeing, whilst relatively strong on criticalcommunity psychology in theory, is criticallyweak, in our opinion, when it comes to criticalcommunity psychology in practice. Despiteprovisos about the difficulty of definingcommunity psychology (p. 4) and althoughthey admit (table 3.3 p. 61) that whilst supportfor community structures, social justice,holism and accountability have amongst themost potential for social change, they arecurrently amongst the least prominent incommunity psychology, Nelson andPrilleltensky (2005) write that, “the centralproblem with which CP is concerned is that ofoppression, and that the central goals of CP areto work in solidarity with disadvantagedpeople and to accompany them in their questfor liberation and well-being” (p. 24).Given their commitment to contestingoppression, solidarity with disadvantagedpeople, promotion of liberation and well-beingand support for community structures, socialjustice, holism and accountability, Nelson andPrilleltensky’s (2005) text book evangelising acritical version of community psychology,might have been expected to showcaseinspiring exemplars of critical communitypsychology in action. It is therefore all themore of an anti-climax to read the volume’streatment of disabling practices or, as GlenWhite puts it, ‘Ableism’, in Chapter 20 ofNelson and Prilleltensky (2005).Although White’s chapter starts with awarm-up exercise asking what communitypsychologists can do to reduce discriminationagainst ‘people with disabilities’ and althoughit suggests the ‘challenges for communitypsychologists’ relate to ‘power’, ‘diversity’,‘partnership and collaboration’, ‘subjectivityand reflexivity’ and although White claims the‘work is guided by values consistent with theaims of CP’ including ‘participation/collaboration, diversity and social justice’, theactual practice described falls well short of this.Here is an example of explicit and implicitcommunity psychologies being quite differentin the same work.White gives ‘two recent examples of ourcommunity-based work addressing the concernsof people with disabilities’, previously stated tobe exclusion, discrimination and access’. Thefirst example White gives is ‘The Action LetterPortfolio’. This ‘self administered guide helpsusers write their own personal disabilityconcern letters.’ Not only is this anameliorative, cognitive, individual level changeintervention based on victim-blaming, skilldeficit,assumptions but it was not eveneffective in the sense that ‘the skills thatparticipants demonstrated under trainingconditions’ did not even transfer to their ownpersonal letter writing outside the training. Thesecond example White gives is an interventionto increase physical activity levels in ‘womenwith severe disabilities’. White notes:The study goal was remarkablebecause it encouraged women toself-direct their increases inphysical activity in their homes orselected community sites. Thisapproach was a more realisticalternative than regularlyworking-out at a fitness centrebecause of the barriers posed forthe participants (cost, need foraccessible transportation and thelack of physical andprogrammatic accessibility). (p.419)This example is again critically deeplyproblematic in that it is an individual level,cognitive, ameliorative intervention whichpositions women’s lack of enthusiasm forexercise (in assuming encouragement is anThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Community psychologies12appropriate intervention) as the problem to beaddressed and accepts the physical andeconomic inaccessibility of public fitnessfacilities and transport as a given to which thewomen should accommodate.White admits that his communitypsychology interventions have ‘most often’been ‘ameliorative rather than transformative’directed at achieving individual level ‘firstorder’change such as ‘increasing a desirablebehaviour’ (e.g., physical activity) or‘decreasing an undesirable behaviour (that ispowerlessness)’. That White seespowerlessness as individual level behaviour isworrying in itself. White then draws upon hiswider knowledge of the communitypsychology literature but can only come upwith what he describes as “two strongexamples of transformation, where secondorder change has truly occurred” (p. 419). One‘resulted from consumer complaints aboutinappropriate wording and portrayals of peoplewith disabilities . . . and led to the developmentof a nationally recognized resource for themedia on how to write about and report onpeople with disabilities.” The other ‘showedthat handicapped (sic) parking signs clearlyindicating the potential amount of fines thatone could incur for parking illegally were moreeffective when compared to the standardhandicapped (sic) parking signs’ (p. 420) andthis led to some states changing their signs.These do not seem to us “strong examples oftransformation” and it is a sign of thelimitedness and ineffectiveness of 30 years ofcommunity psychology disability research ifthese are the most critically informedtransformatory interventions which White isable to cite. It is not just that no real impact ondiscriminatory disabling practices andprocedures has been achieved, thediscriminatory status quo is of course welldefended. It is more that there seems noserious engagement with the task. Thecommitment in theory of communitypsychology to tackle injustice and to promotethe liberation and well being of disabledpeople seems purely rhetorical.In contrast with White’s acriticalcommunity based disability work, we nextdescribe some Scottish ‘community criticalpsychological’ praxis which has attempted toresist, in theory and practice, ideological andintellectual colonisation by the United Statesianversion of what community psychology is andto get to grips critically with disabling practices,procedures and policies. This work, achieved bya participatory collective including one of theco-authors, Adele Laing, was an engagement insustained praxis over several years in relation todisabling practice, procedures and policies inseveral Higher Education Institutions inScotland.As we use it, ‘praxis 4 ’ refers to anongoing, irreducible, collective process throughwhich is enacted, in one and the same process,‘knowledgementing’ (the construction andlegitimation of knowledge claims), ‘radicalreflexivity’ (the bringing to awareness andcritical problematisation of interests served bywhat is thought, said and done by all relevantparties), and ‘ideologically progressive socialaction’ (the pursuit of emancipatory process andjust outcomes and the contesting of ‘externaland internal 5 ’ institutional oppression.We locate praxis within a critical frame ofreference which rejects naïve realism andpositions reality as socially constructed but,none-the-less, as having ‘real’ effects.Crucially, in our frame of reference nodistinction is drawn between power andknowledge: power-knowledge is irreducible andthe components cannot be separated. AsFoucault (1997) puts it: “power and knowledgedirectly imply one another . . . there is no powerrelation without the correlative constitution of afield of knowledge, nor any knowledge thatdoes not presuppose and constitute at the sametime power relation” (p. 27). For more on ourthinking about power see Fryer (2008b).This praxis rejects accomodationist, NorthAmerican style, Community Psychology and isinformed by the work of Michel Foucault (e.g.,1977), Paulo Freire (1972), the British DisabledThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Community psychologies13Peoples’ Movement (http://www.bcodp.org.uk/) and associated scholars,Paul Hunt (1966) and Michael Oliver (1992),and explicates the way disability is constructedand maintained in Scottish Higher EducationInstitutions through interconnectivity between(or as Foucault might have put it assemblagesor apparatuses consisting of) interconnectedpractices, procedures, policies, discourses andother key frames of reference.The praxis involved problematisinginterviews with various members of ScottishHigher Education Institutions or associatedpublic organisations, through which unjustinterpretations of ‘disability’ were coknowledgemented,critically co-problematisedand co-challenged, with their ideologicalnature co-exposed and alternative, more just,interpretations co-explored; paid and voluntarywork with various personnel tasked withproviding disability related services andsupport during which oppressive activitieswere surfaced, institutional interests servedidentified and reactionary means of action andinterpretation problematised; participation in aHigher Education Institution’s high levelworking group tasked with amending disabilitypolicy and procedures knowledgementingoppressive ways institutional decisions aremade to maintain/enhance existing disablingpolicies and procedures; supporting a disabledstudents’ group to establish themselves andthen to surface and contest the problematicway in which the institution had silenced theircritical voice from a wide reaching institutionalaudit required by national legislation and inwhich their inputs had been distorted torepresent the institution’s interests; meetinglaw and policy makers from the nationalparliament to problematise existing policy andprocedures and to champion alternativearrangements which were more likely tosupport just ends; and the creation and runningof an on-line inter-institutional criticaldisability studies course offered to members ofvarious Scottish Higher Education Institutionsto enable those who enrolled not only toindividually earn a module credit fulfilling bonafide university degree module requirements butto allow them to collectively engage in: deideologisationand sustained criticalconscientisation of dominant conceptions ofwhat constitutes disability; theoreticaldiscussion and shared co-construction of newaccounts of disability; familiarisation with andcritique of accessible accounts of the legislativeduties to which institutions were accountable;scrutiny of organisational disabling practicesand procedures. The aim of this dimension ofthe praxis was to provide course members withthe resources to pursue and ensure their civiland human rights to education and contestdiscriminatory practices, procedures andpolicies.The praxis collective demonstrated,sought to understand and challenge why, inspite of apparently progressive practices,policies and procedures, well intentionedpeople, and despite students battling hard tosucceed, Scottish Higher Education Institutionsare still disabling places, that is, still placeswhere the likelihood of success or failure isdistributed unevenly and unjustly across thepopulation to the detriment of certain studentswho become disabled by the way theinstitutions operate. Why, despite all theamendments to legislation and proposals toamend existing polices, practices andprocedures in order to make universities placeswhich do not disable or operate indiscriminatory ways, little has changed orwhere it has done, has changed for the worse inrecent times.The praxis collective constructed anaccount which exposed the wider economies atwork producing disability in Higher Education,and how those economies function to preventemancipatory change but instead to produce andmaintain disability through various apparatusesof disciplinary power functioning together,interlocking components of a disabling machinewhich keeps oppressive practices, proceduresand policies the same no matter what changesare attempted.The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Community psychologies14The praxis collective, as do we ascommunity critical psychologists, strived toproblematise ideologically reactionary aspectsof mainstream ‘knowledge andpractice’ (rather than collude with them),develop epistemologically sophisticatedknowledgementing practices (rather thandefault to formulaic methodology), developinnovative socio-structural inter- and preventions(rather than default to traditionalintra-psychic blame or change), collaboratewith collectives (rather than work unilaterallyon or for individuals), promote social change(rather than psychological adaptation), engagein emancipatory process and outcome throughprogressive redistribution of power (rather thancollude with or contribute to oppressive (re)distribution of power), make processes ofpsychological oppression visible and contestthem (rather than camouflage, mystify andcollude with them), provide new legitimatedknowledge, demonstrate new ways ofproducing knowledge which are participatoryand socially just, and offer new ways to peopleto engage with us in emancipatory socialresearch. Note that here we are, effectively,making explicit a community criticalpsychology to which we are committed whichis implicit in the praxis described.We believe that community psychologyis becoming increasingly endangered as acritical alternative to mainstream disciplinaryideology, theory, procedure and practice. Webelieve that community psychology isbecoming increasingly colonised anddominated by acritical United Statesianversions of community psychology. However,we also believe this transformation is notinevitable and could be checked or reversed bycommunity psychologists taking a critical turnin theory, ideology and practice and engagingin praxis, building upon work such as that wehave described above.ReferencesDalton, J. H., Elias, M. J., & Wandersman, A.(Eds.). (2001). Community psychology:Linking individuals and communities.London: Thomson Learning.Fox, D., & Prilleltensky, I. (Eds.). (1997).Critical psychology: An introduction.London: Sage.Foucault, M. (1977). Discipline and punish:The birth of the prison. London: PenguinBooks.Freire, P. (1972). Pedagogy of the oppressed.Harmondsworth: Penguin.Fryer, D. (2008a). Some questions about “TheHistory of Community Psychology”. Journalof Community Psychology, 36, 572-586.Fryer, D. (2008b). Power from the people?Critical reflection on a conceptualisation ofpower. Journal of Community Psychology,36, 238-245.Hunt, P. (1966). A Critical Condition. In P.Hunt (Ed), Stigma: The experience ofdisability. London: Chapman.Laing, A. (2008). Changing disabling places.Unpublished PhD thesis. Stirling: Universityof Stirling.Nelson, G. and Prilleltensky, I. (Eds.). (2005).Community psychology: In pursuit ofliberation and well-being. Basingstoke:Palgrave Macmillan.Oliver, M. (1992). Changing the social relationsof research production. Disability andSociety, 7, 101-116.Orford, J. (1992). Community psychology:Theory and practice. Chichester: Wiley.Orford, J. (2008). Community psychology:Challenges, controversies and emergingconsensus. Chichester: Wiley.Prilleltensky, I. (1994). The morals and politicsof psychology: Psychological discourse andthe status quo. Albany, NY: State Universityof New York.Prilleltensky, I. and Nelson, G. (Eds.). (2002).Doing psychology critically: Making adifference in diverse settings. Basingstoke:Palgrave Macmillan.Rappaport, J. (1977). Community psychology:Values, research and action. New York:Holt, Rinehart and Winston.SCRA Executive Committee. (2007). SCRA’sVision Statement Clarified. The CommunityThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Community psychologies15Psychologist, 40(3), 48.Seedat, M., Duncan, N., & Lazarus, S. (Eds.).(2001). Community Psychology theory,method and practice: South African and otherperspectives. Cape Town: Oxford UniversityPress.Thomas, D. & Veno, A. (Eds.). (1992).Psychology and social change: Creating aninternational agenda. Palmerston North:Dunmore Press.Thomas, D. & Veno, A. (Eds.). (1996).Psychology and social change: Australianand New Zealand Perspectives (2 nd ed.).Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.White, G. W. (2005). Ableism. In G. Nelson & I.Prilleltensky (Eds.), Community psychology:In pursuit of liberation and well-being (pp.405-425). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Wolff, T. (2006). SCRA proposes new coreprinciples including vision statement. TheCommunity Psychologist, 39(4), 76-78.Notes1.We note in passing that the samereconstruction through problematising could becarried out with other questions such as: “Whatis clinical psychology?” or indeed “What ispsychology?”.2.“The Society for Community Research andAction will have a strong, global impact onenhancing well-being and promoting socialjustice for all people …” (SCRA ExecutiveCommittee, 2007).3For example the 12th Biennial Conference ofthe SCRA bears the title, “Realising Our NewVision”.4This notion of praxis is more fully explicated inLaing (2008).5 The distinction between external and internaloppression is not clear cut because oppressivesocietal discourses and ideologically reactionaryframes of reference are often internalised andexperienced as ‘subjective reality’.Adele LaingSection of Psychological MedicineDivision of Community Based SciencesFaculty of MedicineUniversity of GlasgowScotlandemail: adelelaing@hotmail.comAuthor noteDavid Fryer is relocating to Charles SturtUniversity, New South Wales, Australia inearly 2009.Address correspondence toDavid FryerUniversity of Stirling, Scotlandemail: drdavidfryer@yahoo.co.ukThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


16Resisting Refugee Policy: Stress and Coping of Refugee AdvocatesNadya SurawskiAnne PedersenMurdoch UniversityLinda BriskmanCurtin University of TechnologyWhile there is clear evidence of the negative effects of Australian policy with respect topeople seeking asylum on our shores, there is little research regarding the experiences oftheir advocates. In the present study, two main aims were investigated. First, we examinedthe stress levels of advocates and their coping strategies. Second, we examined changes inpersonal relationships and positive experiences as outcomes of the involvement withrefugees. Eighty four refugee movement advocates completed an on-line questionnaire.Results indicated that they experienced moderate to high levels of stress in their refugeeadvocacy. While they used emotional support significantly more than other copingstrategies, they found emotional support and instrumental support the most effective.Regardless of the high costs involved in such advocacy (e.g., financial, emotional, andinterpersonal), participants noted a number of positive outcomes such as new friendshipsand personal growth. The findings are discussed in terms of long-term implications inrelation to immigration policy and community support.For a long time, Australia has beeninvolved in assisting international victims ofcrises occurring within their own countries. Alarge number of refugees escaping the dangersof civil disorder or ethnic, political andreligious persecution in their homeland havesuccessfully resettled in the safe democraticcountry of Australia. While welcoming thosewho waited to be accepted as refugeesoffshore, Australia has not been so generoustoward refugees arriving onshore withoutofficial authorisation, usually by boat 1 .Radical changes to refugee policy weremade in 1992 by the then Labor Governmentwith the introduction of legislation for themandatory detention of unauthorised arrivals.In 1997, the regulations for refugees living ona bridging visa E (BVE) were introduced,restricting work rights (most are not allowed towork) and Medicare access. Then, in 1999, thethree-year temporary protection visa (TPV)was introduced which prohibited refugees whoarrived without official authorisation tosponsor their family to join them, return toAustralia if they left the country during thattime, and to be eligible for resettlementbenefits. The conditions of a BVE and TPVdenied individuals certainty, hope and materialsecurity – the conditions necessary to starthealing after experiencing torture and trauma intheir countries (Crock, Saul & Dastyari, 2006)and, in many cases, mandatory detention.In August–September 2001, the crisisaround Tampa, a Norwegian cargo shipcarrying 433 refugees rescued from a sinkingboat, was the next milestone in tightening therefugee migration legislation. The crisisdeveloped around the time of the September 11terrorist attacks in the USA and just before theAustralian federal elections in November 2001.Howard Government representatives used thisopportunity to link boat people with thepossibility of terrorist attacks in Australia(Crock et al., 2006; Pedersen, Watt, &Griffiths, 2007). Over time, the attitudes of theAustralian public toward refugees becameincreasingly negative (Betts, 2001) whichallowed the Howard government to justifyprolonged detention of unauthorised arrivalsuntil their status was thoroughly assessedwhich, for some refugees, involved a very longwait indeed (for one Kashmiri asylum seeker,the wait was seven years). This prolonged waitis despite the fact that approximately 90% ofThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Resisting refugee policy17asylum seekers are found to be ‘genuine’refugees (Burnside, 2008).Implications of Australia’s Onshore RefugeePolicy for Refugees’ Well-beingMany refugees arriving to Australia haveexperienced the trauma of persecution in theirown country. According to the director ofNSW Institute of Psychiatry, Dr LouiseNewman, detention can contribute to refugees’traumatisation and increase feelings ofisolation, loneliness, voicelessness andhelplessness (ABC, 2006). Evidence of thenegative impact of prolonged and indefinitedetention was documented in the reports ofHuman Rights and Equal OpportunityCommission (2004) and the United NationsHigh Commissioner for Refugees (1997) (alsosee Austin, Silove & Steel, 2007; Briskman,Latham & Goddard, 2008; Steel, Silove,Brooks, Momartin, Alzuhairi, & Susljik,2006). Refugees on TPVs or BVEs findthemselves in the conditions of ‘unacceptablehardship’ defined by McNevin and Correa-Velez (2006) as numerous health and welfarecrises, such as homelessness, growing debt,poor access to health care, family breakdown,and social isolation. There are also a number ofpeople who were deported to their homeland‘voluntarily’ after being persuaded byImmigration Department officials that it wassafe to return to their countries. Many facedeither death or danger upon the return to theirhomeland (Briskman et al., 2008; Corlett,2005).Implications of Australia’s Onshore RefugeePolicy for advocates’ Well-beingThe impact of mandatory detention,TPVs, BVEs and potential deportation on thephysical and mental well-being of refugeesmotivated many Australians to engage inactivist endeavours and to support refugees.The refugee movement called on the HowardGovernment, and later the Rudd Government,to comply with international obligations andcore principles of humanity (Briskman &Goddard 2007; Briskman et al., 2008). ManyAustralians formed alliances to supportdistressed and disadvantaged refugees andendeavour to overturn the policies. Thousandsof people took part in activities within therefugee support movement (Mares & Newman,2007; Pedersen, Kenny, Briskman, & Hoffman,2008). Refugee advocates housed individualrefugees at their homes, visited them indetention centres, and assisted them with legalcases. Political activists strived to bring changeto Australia’s onshore refugee policy. Theyattended and organised protest rallies, andlobbied politicians. Many people took part inboth political and supporting activities. Refugeesupport groups were active in capital cities andin regional Australia and included professionalsand volunteers working with refugees.Yet there are few studies which examinerefugee advocacy. Gosden (2006) explored themilestones of the refugee movement inAustralia. She found that while some advocateshad prior involvement in other social justiceareas, many others joined the movement inorder to respond to the issues of human rightsabuses within the Australian onshore refugeepolicy (this was also found by Coombs, 2003).Reynolds (2004) studied advocates’background, knowledge of Australia’s onshorerefugee policy, motivations for the involvement,and the ways of helping refugees detained inisolated areas of Australia and in the Pacific.One of the findings of her study was that therewere different motivations for the refugeeinvolvement from feeling empathy withrefugees to disagreement with the ‘unjust andun-Australian’ policy. Raab (2005) alsoexplored the reasons motivating Australians tobecome involved in the refugee movement. Themost common motivations named by theadvocates of her study were: important valuesviolated by government policies, wishing toshow dissent from the government policy,feeling distressed angry or guilty because of therefugee plight, and already being involved inactivist networks.Helping traumatised refugees cannegatively impact on the advocates’ mental andphysical health. It has been noted elsewhere thatThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Resisting refugee policy18some advocates appear to be traumatised bythe whole refugee situation (Gosden, 2005;Australian Council of Heads of Schools ofSocial Work [ACHSSW], 2006). Gosden(2005) pointed to anecdotal evidence ofvicarious trauma, also known as secondarytrauma (e.g., Hesse, 2002) experienced byadvocates who were intensely involved withrefugees affected by the onshore refugeepolicy. There is very little research in this field,so in discussing the extent to which advocatesmay experience stress, it is important to look athow helping people in distress may negativelyimpact on workers in other fields. We do sonow.The HEAVINESS of HelpingResearch with helping professionalsindicates that the costs of helping can be high.Stress, which can be defined as a generalreaction to traumatic or disturbing events(Hesse, 2002), occurs when the demands andchallenges facing a person exceed theiravailable resources (Lazarus & Folkman,1984). People’s responses to stressful eventscan be expressed in their emotions (distress,despair, helplessness, irritability, lack ofcontrol), thoughts (worrying excessively,pessimistic, and confused), physical reactions(headaches, rapid heartbeat, sleep problems,and general weakness), and behaviours(frequent crying spells, impatience, blaming,and poor interpersonal relationships) (seeResick, 2001; Morrissette, 2004). For helpingprofessionals and volunteers, feelingcompassion and empathy for their patients orclients can increase the probability ofexperiencing stress (Gueritault-Chalvin,Kalichman, Demi & Peterson, 2000). Anumber of studies have reported significantlevels of stress across occupational groupssuch as physicians, nurses and social workers,and across health care disciplines, such asmidwifery, oncology and HIV/AIDS care(Demmer, 2002; Huensberg, Vedhara, Nott &Bradbeer, 1998; Linzer, Gerrity, Douglas,McMurray, Williams, & Konrad, 2002).Individuals can employ different copingstrategies in order to deal with a stressfulsituation. Lazarus and Folkman (1984)differentiated between problem-focused coping,which attempts to alter or manage the situationand emotion-focused coping which attempts toreduce or manage emotional distress. Problemfocusedcoping includes direct action, planningand evaluating. Emotional-focused copingconsists of various processes, such asemphasising the positives of the situation.Lazarus and Folkman argue that problemfocusedcoping is more likely in situations whensomething constructive can be done about thestressor whereas emotion-focused coping ismore likely when the situation is one that mustbe endured.Carver, Scheier and Weintraub (1989)described 13 coping strategies of the COPEscale; some of which we briefly describedbelow being relevant to the present study.Instrumental support refers to active behavioursfor assisting the person in need. Emotionalsupport is the ability to confide and expressfeelings to others and their ability to listenempathically (Resick, 2001). Venting ofemotion is the tendency to focus on distress thatone is experiencing and to ventilate thosefeelings (Carver et al., 1989). Relying on one’sreligion and spirituality may be important tomany people, and may play a significant role incoping with stress related to the present issuegiven the amount of support refugees receivefrom advocates who come from religiousorganisations (Pedersen et al., 2007). Positivereframing, a type of emotion-focused coping, isaimed at managing distress emotions rather thanat dealing with the stressor (Carver et al., 1989)and refers to looking at things in a better lightleading the individual to move toward active,problem-focused coping.Overview of our StudyOur study examined the effect ofinvolvement in the refugee movement onadvocates’ well-being. For the purpose of thisstudy, refugee advocates and activists willhereafter be referred to as ‘advocates’. In orderThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Resisting refugee policy19to achieve this aim, quantitative and qualitativedata were simultaneously collected through anelectronic questionnaire. Although, as noted byYardley and Bishop (in press), there areprofound differences in these perspectives –quantitative often being associated withscientific paradigms and qualitative oftenbeing associated with interpretative/constructivist paradigms - there are manybenefits in both methods if pitfalls (e.g., notusing explicit theoretical frameworks) aretaken into account. In fact, Yardley and Bishopargue that if we really want to understand thehuman experience, we need to draw on a rangeof methods to do so. Specifically, in our study,the qualitative data enabled the exploration ofthe context in which stress and coping tookplace as was then expressed in the quantitativeself-reports. A thematic analysis approach(Braun & Clarke, 2006) was used to examinethe qualitative data. As these authors note, thismethod is recommended for the use in underresearchedareas. As such, it is the mostsuitable for the purpose of the present studybecause stress and coping of Australianrefugee advocates has not been specificallystudied. The following steps were taken withrespect to the reasons for perceiving refugeework as more stressful (if in fact participantsdid), the Critical Incidents, and positiveexperiences. Firstly, common themes emergingfrom the data were identified, named, and alldata relevant to each theme collated. Secondly,the frequency with which each theme wasmentioned by participants was established.In this study, four specific objectiveswere identified. A minor first objective was toinvestigate whether advocates were previouslyinvolved in social justice movements; if so,whether they found refugee advocacy more orless stressful, or there was no difference. Ifindeed there were differences, we wereinterested in why this may have been the case.The second was to examine the level of stressreported by the participants. The third waswhat coping strategies were most used andperceived as successful. Finally, the fourth wasto explore the outcomes of refugee involvementin terms of changes in interpersonalrelationships and positive experiences.MethodThe questionnaire was posted on-line; 84questionnaires were returned over eight weeksfrom May to July 2006. Participants completedthe survey in a single session which tookapproximately 30 minutes. Invitations toparticipate, including a link to the questionnaireand a request to send it on to other individualsand groups, were emailed to 13 refugee supportgroups across Australia. The second and thirdauthors of this paper were included asparticipants.Respondents were asked to state their agein years, their education level (1 = did notcomplete secondary school, 6 = postgraduatedegree), political orientation (1 = strongly left,5 = strongly right), sex (1 = male, 2 = female),and religiousness or spirituality (1 = neitherreligious nor spiritual, 2 = religious, 3 =spiritual, 4 = both religious and spiritual). Theyalso responded to the questions about theirrefugee involvement: length of time (from 1 =less than 1 year, 4 = more than 5 years),potential impact on their finances (1 = yes, 2 =no), type of work (1 = political action, 2 =refugee support, 3 = both political action andrefugee support), closeness to a supportedrefugee (1 = not close at all, 4 = very close),and experience in other social justice areas (1 =yes, 2 = no). In addition, participants who hadexperience in other social justice areas alsoresponded to an open-ended question about thereasons for perceiving refugee advocacy asmore stressful (if they had indicated that thiswas the case).The Critical Incident technique (Flanagan,1954) was used to enable participants’recollection of a stressful event from theiradvocacy work. The Critical Incident providedcontext in which participants experienced stressas, for many advocates, the most stressfulepisodes associated with their refugeeinvolvement happened in the past. Participantsresponded to the three open-ended questionsThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Resisting refugee policy20asking: (a) what actually took place, (b) whatthe advocates’ reactions and feelings were, and(c) what the actual or potential consequencesof the incident were. Participants who hadexperienced a Critical Incident were asked torespond to all of the remaining questions, andtheir answers were included in the analyses ofstress, coping, changes in relationships andpositive experiences. Respondents who had notexperienced such an incident were instructed tocomplete the demographic and advocacybackground information only.Stress was measured using the PerceivedStress Scale (Cohen, Kamarck & Mermelstein,1983). The scale was reported to have adequatereliability and validity. Ten of the 14 originalitems of the scale (six of them negative andfour positive, reverse scored) were kept as theywere the most relevant questions referring toadvocates’ stress related to the CriticalIncident. Some questions were amended forreasons of clarity to fit the present study. Thequestions asked participants to respond on afive-point scale how often they experiencedcertain feelings (‘never’ to ‘very often’).Higher scores on the scale indicated greaterstress.Use of coping strategies was measuredwith the COPE scale (Carver et al., 1989). Fivesubscales of the scale containing four itemseach (as in the original scale, totalling 20items) were retained, namely: instrumentalsupport, emotional support, religion, positivereframing, and venting of emotion. Of the fouritems of the religion subscale, two werereplaced with the similar items from a laterversion of the scale (Carver, 1997) and twoother were reframed to include spirituality dueto the diversity of beliefs in Australian society.Of the four items of the positive reframingsubscale, three were the original and one wassuggested by a participant of a previous pilotstudy (beyond the scope of this paper toelaborate upon). Respondents were asked toindicate whether certain ways of coping withstress at the time of the Critical Incident weretrue of them using a five-point scale(‘completely untrue’ to ‘completely true’).Higher scores referred to greater use of a copingstrategy.A similar format of the inventory wasused for rating the effectiveness of copingstrategies. For each coping option, participantsassessed how successful it was in helpingcombat stress using a five-point scale (‘neversuccessful’ to ‘very successful’). The higher thescores, the more successful the coping strategywas perceived. In addition, they were also askedfour questions, both closed and open-ended, toindicate the use of professional support indealing with stress.Participants were asked a closed-endedquestion regarding changes in relationships withtheir friends, family and work colleagues, andan open-ended question about the ways of suchchanges. They were also asked an open-endedquestion to indicate positive experiences theyhad during their refugee work.ResultsDemographic Information and AdvocacyBackgroundThe sample of 84 advocates was primarilyfemale (87%). The average age was 46 years(range 18–76 years). The majority of therespondents were highly educated, with 80% ofthe sample holding a degree or postgraduatequalification. The political viewpoint of thesample was left-wing (36% of ‘strongly left’and 50% of ‘somewhat left’). A total of 76% ofthe advocates had been involved in refugeeadvocacy for more than three years, and 91%were still involved at the time of the survey.The involvement in the refugee movement hadimpacted on the finances of 62% of theadvocates. The majority (74%) worked withrefugees as volunteers. Only 7% of theadvocates were involved in political actiononly. Most of the advocates either supportedrefugees (47%) or were involved in bothsupport and political activism (46%). Themajority of participants as a whole (81%)reported they were either very close or quiteclose to the refugee/refugees they supported;The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Resisting refugee policy21Table 1Descriptive Characteristics of Scales_______________________________________________________________________________Scale Mean (SD) Range k α___________________________________________________________________Stress 3.44 (.60) 1-5 10 .86Coping use1. Instrumental support 3.62 (.93) 1-5 4 .722. Emotional support 4.03 (.93) 1-5 4 .873. Venting of emotion 3.74 (.90) 1-5 3 .714. Religion/spirituality 2.43 (1.48) 1-5 4 .955. Positive reframing 2.73 (1.21) 1-5 3 .84Coping effectiveness1. Instrumental support 3.91 (1.04) 1-5 - -2. Emotional support 3.84 (1.05) 1-5 - -3. Venting of emotion 3.15 (1.13) 1-5 - -4. Religion/spirituality 2.32 (1.56) 1-5 - -5. Positive reframing 2.57 (1.32) 1-5 - -this number grew to 85% of those whoreported experiencing a Critical Incident.Over two-thirds of our participants(69%) were active in other social justice areasbefore becoming involved with refugees. Athematic analysis of reported social justiceareas revealed that the most common categorywas social justice relating to IndigenousAustralians (20%). Other common socialjustice areas were belonging to human rightsorganisations such as Amnesty International(11%), unionism (9%), environmental issues(8%), women’s rights such as victims ofdomestic violence (8%) and work with peoplewith disabilities (7%). Of the advocates whohad been involved in social justice workbeforehand, most (83%) rated their refugeeinvolvement as more stressful than theirprevious social justice involvement. The threemost important reasons given were pastrefugee trauma or current suffering (21%),higher personal involvement, or closeness(20%), and critical nature, life and deathsituations (18%). Less common, but relevant,responses were injustice in policy (16%),achieving little results or feelings ofhopelessness (14%), and higher levels of effort(11%).Scale DescriptivesTable 1presents the descriptivecharacteristics for each scale, setting out thescale means and standard deviations, the rangeof scores and the number of items in each scale.The table also includes the scale α coefficients.By the removal of one item from the venting ofemotion and positive reframing scales,reliabilities were increased to α = .71 and .84,respectively. All scales had satisfactoryreliability.Stress Related to Critical IncidentsMost Critical Incidents took place in 2003and 2004. A total of 82 Critical Incidents wereobtained from 68 participants (81% of thesample), while 16 participants (19%) did notreport one. The rest of the results willsummarise the information obtained from these68 participants. Six categories of CriticalIncidents were identified by thematic analysis.The two primary themes were self-harm,suicide: concerns or incidents (17%),deportation (actual or fear of) or fear ofpersecution following deportation (17%). Fourless prominent, but still relevant, themes wereThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Resisting refugee policy22general policy: operations of or changes to(15%), behaviour of detention/immigrationstaff (15%), impact on own life (8%), andrefugee family issues (3%).The mean stress levels of our participantswere generally on the high side (M = 3.44 outof a 5 point scale). Dividing the stress scores ofparticipants at the 33rd and 66th percentilesresulted in only 3% of participants with lowstress (scores 1.0–2.3), 58% with moderate(scores 2.4–3.6), and 39% with high (scores3.7–5.0) levels of stress. Most participants(87%) related their stress to ongoinginvolvement in refugee advocacy rather than toa single acute event. We also found high levelsof vicarious trauma as measured by theMorrissette (2004) scale which wassignificantly correlated with stress scores (r= .77). This adds to the validity of the stressscale, but is beyond the scope of this paper totake this finding further.Coping Strategies and their EffectivenessThe two most used coping strategieswere seeking emotional support andinstrumental support. However, the differencebetween the mean scores of the two copingstrategies was significant, t(65) = 2.38, p < .05)indicating that participants used emotionalsupport significantly more often than they usedinstrumental support. However, the two mostsuccessful coping strategies were instrumentalsupport and emotional support. Both strategieswere perceived as equally successful, t(64)= .66, p > .05.Only 27% percent of participants soughtprofessional support (e.g., counselling) toassist in coping with stress at the time of theCritical Incident, almost half of them (44%)from an official organisation. All (100%) ofthem reported the professional support washelpful.Changes in Relationships and PositiveExperiencesMost of the advocates (69%) reportedchanged relationships with some of theirfriends, family, or work colleagues as theresult of their involvement in refugeeadvocacy. For 15% of the respondents, therelationships changed in a positive way (e.g.,found support, the quality of relationshipsimproved). For over a third of participants(39%) the relationships changed in a negativeway (e.g., lost a friend, became distanced fromthe family) and for almost half (46%)relationships changed in both positive andnegative ways (e.g., strengthened relationshipswith some friends, but alienation from theother). There were nine themes of positiveexperiences as revealed by thematic analysis.Overall, 57 participants (84%) reported 118incidents. The three primary themes were newfriendships or broadened networks (29%),personal growth (19%), and appreciation of life/humanity (12%). The less reported themes wereunderstanding of others’ cultures (9%), thedeveloping of strengths (9%), the developing ofnew skills (8%), awareness of politics or socialjustice (7%), satisfaction from or valueoriginating from the work (4%), and findingmeaning in one’s life (3%).DiscussionWe now discuss the four major findings,and compare such findings with previousresearch. Finally, the findings are discussed interms of implications in relation to immigrationpolicy and community support.Stress Levels Compared with PreviousAdvocacyThe negative impact of the refugee regimeon the refugees themselves has been welldocumented (e.g., Austin et al., 2007; Briskmanet al., 2008). Not surprisingly, many concernedcitizens who in the past were seeking socialjustice for other disadvantaged anddiscriminated people (e.g., IndigenousAustralians; victims of domestic violence;people with disabilities) formed alliances tosupport refugees. Indeed, over two-thirds of theadvocates in the present study came to therefugee movement with experience in othersocial justice areas. This finding is in line withone of the motives for refugee involvement asreported by a quarter of the advocates of theRaab (2005) study: they were already involvedThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Resisting refugee policy23in activist networks. It is also in line with thefinding of Gosden (2006) that some advocateshad prior involvement in other social justiceareas. However, it would appear that oursample were more likely to have had previousexperience with social justice work. Why thisis the case can only be speculated upon.Clearly, there were differences in method used– different channels of dissemination; theaccessing of different individuals and groups.However, one notable difference between thestudies is that Raab’s research took place a fewyears before the present research; similarlyGosden’s research went back as far as 2003. Itmay be that the participants who continuedlonger with such advocacy may have beenmore experienced with such work generallyand thus more robust (Gosden, D., personalcommunication, January 20, 2008).The nature of the problem with whichadvocates were dealing defines theirperception of refugee work as more stressfulthan previous social justice work. In theconditions of refugees’ uncertainty, deprivedfreedom and endangerment, over four-fifths oftheir advocates saw this as more distressingcompared to other social justice involvement.The critical nature of refugee advocacy, whichcan be a matter of life and death, is wellexpressed in the words of one of the advocates:‘So many times my refugee friends faceddeportation and possible death, torture,imprisonment. This was a lived, real possibilityfor them, and greatly effected (sic) me … ‘.The fear described by this advocate regarding arefugee returning to his or her homeland andbeing killed is not without merit. As brieflydiscussed in the introduction, it has been foundthat some refugees who were returned to theircountry of origin were not only brutalised andtortured on their return but some were killed(Briskman et al., 2008; Corlett, 2005).Levels of StressApproximately three-quarters of theadvocates worked with refugees as volunteers,and of course there were costs associated withthat. They responded to the situation ofrefugees by providing money, housing them,giving presents, sending parcels, and visitingthem at detention centres. It is no wonder thatmost advocates felt a significant impact on theirfinancial situation as expressively depicted by arefugee advocate: ‘We have had a great deal ofexpense. We have paid for airline tickets, rentfor family left behind, support for returnedrefugees, donations and fees to migrationagents, support for a family to live in our home,necessary items. It is impossible to estimate theexpense. Probably $30,000. It just goes outweek after week’.Results revealed that the advocatesexperienced not only financial hardship butemotional hardship too. Were advocates morestressed and traumatised than helpingprofessionals in other fields? The anecdotalaccounts of advocates’ experiences of stress(Gosden, 2005; Mares & Newman, 2007;ACHSSW, 2006) were generally supported bythe results of the study. The majority of theadvocates reported either moderate or highlevels of stress. It is not possible to make directstatistical comparisons with previous stressresearch as different scales and categorisationshave been used. However, judging by meanstress scores, it would appear that our advocates’stress levels (M = 3.44) were higher than thestress levels experienced by AIDS workers (M =2.60; Demmer, 2002) and physicians (M = 2.40;Linzer et al., 2002). In the Demmer study,service providers reported a lack of support,societal attitudes toward AIDS, poor salary, anddeaths of their clients to be major triggers ofstress. Similarities can be found within our ownsample. Refugee advocates did not experiencemuch structural support for their position andcertainly, societal attitudes toward refugees werenegative (Pedersen, Watt, & Hansen, 2006).Their finances were depleted, and they oftenfeared that the refugees they supported may bedeported and face death. In another study,Raviola, MacKoki, Mwaikambo, & DelvecchioGood (2002) found that AIDS carers reportedfeeling highly stressed because of the absence ofa cure for the disease. Again, similarities can beThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Resisting refugee policy24found within our own sample. It is possiblethat advocates had little hope for positiveoutcomes for the refugees they supported at thetime of their Critical Incident (as there was ‘nocure’ for AIDS patients) which added to theirstress levels. Most Critical Incidents occurredin 2003 and 2004 when there didn’t seem to bevery much likelihood of political changeeventuating (there was some positive change inthe middle of 2005 where many detainees werereleased into the Australian community; seePedersen et al., 2008).Relevantly, our participants’ stress levelswere greater than those reported in a recentAustralian study using similar measures(Lincoln, 2008). The Lincoln study examinedthe stress experienced by direct serviceworkers who assisted refugee traumasurvivors. Specifically, these professionals’stress levels (M = 2.62) were very similar tothe Demmer (2002) study; thus, lower thanthose reported in the present study. We suggestthat these differences may be due to thefollowing reasons. First, most advocates wereclose in a very personal way to the refugee(s)they were supporting; the Lincoln participantswere trained professionals where aprofessional separation would have been morelikely. Second, the Lincoln participants couldleave their jobs without the potential for direconsequences for the refugee(s): someone elsecould take over. Third, the advocates did notreceive formal support as is likely to haveoccurred with the Lincoln participants. Asnoted by Lincoln, her participants felt theyworked in a ‘supportive and caring workenvironment’ (p. 47). Fourth, many advocateswere volunteers who were holding down jobsas well as dealing with these issues in their‘spare’ time; their lack of relaxation time isalso likely to have contributed to their stresslevels. Finally, the future of detainees was lesssecure than for recognised refugees; thisuncertainty must impact on their advocates. Inshort, it would seem that, because of theirunique situation, refugee advocates were atadditional risk for stress.Approximately four-fifths of theadvocates were able to recall experiencing atleast one stressful event from their refugeeinvolvement. For example, one advocatenoted the distress of one family during lipsewingincidences at the detention centres.She was told the experiences of one detainee‘in a very animated and agitated manner andculminated the story by telling me he did notwant to sew his lips together at that time likeeveryone else because he wanted to be ableto cry FREEDOM through the fence. He was8 or 9 years old.’ How would it be possiblefor an advocate not to be affected by such ascenario?Advocates’ reactions and feelings tothe Critical Incident reflected the symptomsof stress as described by Resick (2001). Asone advocate described her feelings duringher participation in a detention taskforce atone of the detention centres while alreadyunder stress from providing legal aid torefugees:Overwhelmed, exhausted,everything in my life appearedtrivial and absurd, compared withthe problems suffered by my clients.I found communication with nonrefugeeadvocates tiresome andannoying. I found myself laughinginappropriately at a movie whenothers were crying - it just seemedso silly. I was hyper-aroused,sleeping poorly, wracked with guilt.The content of many statements indicates thatthe advocates were highly affected by theCritical Incidents, and that balance to theirlives needed to be restored which maybeeasier said than done. The extent of the stresscan be related to the work of Cunningham(2003) who examined vicarious trauma (asnoted previously, highly correlated to stressin the present study) which was humanlyinduced (e.g., sexual abuse) and which wasnaturally induced (e.g., cancer). She foundthat vicarious trauma levels were higher forclinicians working with humanly inducedThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Resisting refugee policy25clients; perhaps due to being exposed to somuch human ‘evil’. Like Cunningham, refugeeadvocates’ stress is humanly instigated ratherthan being a natural occurrence. It neverneeded to have happened.CopingThe results revealed that advocates usedemotional support as the main coping strategy.However, they perceived both types of support– emotional and instrumental – as the mostsuccessful coping strategies. Given the successof instrumental support, why was it not used asmuch as emotional support? It may be that ifadvocates felt that the problem causing stresswas beyond their control, they sought moralsupport and understanding. It is in line with theLazarus and Folkman (1984) argument thatemotion-focused coping is more likely whenthe situation is one that must be endured.Alternatively, there were not many people whowere capable of providing instrumentalsupport, given the fact that advocates stoodoutside of society on the issue of refugees withrespect to the Howard government’s hard-linestance and the Australian public’s support ofsuch stance (see Pedersen et al., 2005).Interestingly, in the Lincoln (2008) study withdirect service workers, it was found that, likethe present study, the two most effectivestrategies used were instrumental andemotional support. Unlike the present study,however, instrumental support was used just asmuch as emotional support. As noted byLincoln, her participants were paid workers,not volunteers, and as such they were morelikely than volunteers to receive formal(instrumental) support which certainly was notthe case in the present study. As also occurredwith the Lincoln study, and as seen in Table 1in the present study, multiple strategies were infact used and valued.Our results may help understand thecomplexity of the coping process and the roleof support in overcoming negative effects ofstress. It seems that advocates mostly relied onemotional support because, in the refugee field,it is often hard or even impossible to controlthe problem that causes their stress. It couldhave a negative implication for those advocateswho do not seek professional help, given all theadvocates who used that type of support foundit helpful. It would be beneficial if refugeeorganisations had such services (e.g.,counselling, debriefing) available for theirstressed advocates (however, we acknowledgethe difficulty of doing this with limitedbudgets).Only a quarter of the advocates soughtprofessional help for combating stress and itwas helpful for all of them. Given thatprofessional help was a useful strategy, whymight it be that most advocates didn’t seekhelp? It may be that advocates have never hadother crises of this magnitude in their lives and,in a sense, were ‘learning on the job’.Interestingly, Cunningham (2003) found thatclinicians who were new to the job sufferedmore vicarious trauma compared with thosemore experienced. It also may have been thatadvocates felt they had enough support withintheir networks or they did not have the sparecash (as noted above, many advocates’ financeswere depleted). Or perhaps the advocates whodid not seek professional help believed they didnot have the right to feel stressed while refugeeswere in a far worse state. As one advocatenoted: ‘There is the shadow of guilt we haveprobably all felt for those inside - we can visitbut we can also walk away’. Another said: ‘Ifeel I was stressed but, of course, one cannotlook at one’s situation in the face of what thesepeople have endured and feel sorry foroneself…’. However, the neglect of negativepsychological symptoms may lead to ongoingdistress for advocates. As noted by Hesse(2002), self-care is the primary key for workingsuccessfully with trauma victims.Positive and Negative OutcomesFor over two-thirds of the advocates, thehigh personal involvement with traumatisedrefugees resulted in changed interpersonalrelationships (Lincoln, 2008, similarly foundthat her direct service workers also reportedboth positive and negative experiences). ForThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Resisting refugee policy26just one-sixth of the advocates, relationshipswith their significant ones improved or newfriendships emerged. For over a third of theadvocates, their commitment to the refugeemovement brought about only negativeoutcomes for relationships with theirsignificant ones. But for almost a half of therespondents, it resulted in the improvedrelationships with some people and moredistant with the other, as in the case of thisadvocate:I couldn't speak to a lot of myfriends. I just felt I no longer hadthings in common. My circle offriends shrunk. Also - I didn't haveas much time to see them. Somefamily members grew to hate mefor my views on and support forrefugees. We no longer speak.Other family members joined me toactively support refugees - and wehave become closer because of this.Clearly, for advocates, there were not onlyfinancial and emotional costs of supportingrefugees and bringing change to the refugeepolicy but interpersonal costs too (also seeFour Corners, 2008, for a description of thetrauma reported by detention guards).Though advocates felt highly stressedfrom working with refugees, many reportedexperiences affecting their lives in a positiveway. Indeed, some of the positive experiencesreported by the advocates are similar to thethree domains of post-traumatic growth(Calhoun & Tedeschi, 1998). According tothese authors, stressful and traumatic eventsmay result in the re-evaluation of theindividual’s world views and development ofnew schemata and coping strategies.Individuals report positive changes in one ofthe three domains: one’s sense of self (e.g.,increased self-reliance and coping abilities),relationships (i.e., increased emotionalcloseness with others and understandingothers’ suffering), and spirituality or lifephilosophy (e.g., changed life priorities andincreased wisdom). In the present study,advocates developed strengths and grewpersonally, found new friends, and beganappreciating life and humanity to a greaterdegree. For many advocates, involvementwith refugees resulted in practical positiveoutcomes such as gaining the knowledge ofpolitics, social justice and other cultures, anddeveloping new skills.Overall, the challenges of supportingrefugees and fighting for their rightssignificantly impacted on advocates’relationships with friends, family and workcolleagues. At the same time, advocacybrought about positive changes in their livesand enriched them as individuals.Conclusions and ImplicationsWhat can we learn from the presentstudy? One important finding is that the meanreported stress levels were higher for refugeeadvocates compared with other carers such asAIDS workers, physicians, and professionalsassisting traumatised refugees in Australia. Itis clear that burnout is a key concern. Whenstarting this advocacy work, there was noway of knowing its harshness or longevityand thus the risk of long-term harm. If theadvocates knew then what they know now,they may have been better equipped athandling the situation. One avenue that wouldhave been useful would have been by havingmore formal support. For workers in refugeeorganisations, this is more readily available.But for the volunteers, the refugee situationwas unlike many other situations. Asmentioned previously, advocates wereprimarily working against the wishes of theformer government. Under thesecircumstances, emotional support was morelikely to be available than instrumentalsupport and indeed this was found to be thecase.Steel et al. (2006) documented the riskof complex mental-health related disabilitiesin refugees with a history of immigrationdetention and ongoing temporary protection.The present study documents the implicationsfor mental health of the advocates who workThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Resisting refugee policy27with distressed and traumatised refugees. Foradvocates, there were many negative effects ofthe refugee policy: financial, emotional andinterpersonal. Regardless of the negativeexperiences, most participants saw somebeneficial outcomes. As one participant noted,‘We have made some fantastic friends, both inthe Australian community and amongst therefugees’. However, it could be argued that thesituation should not have arisen in the firstplace. If a more balanced and humanetreatment of refugees were implemented,refugee advocates would not need to getinvolved and unnecessarily suffer highpsychological distress, and this is aside fromthe trauma to the refugees themselves.To conclude, as the political situationstands at the moment, although there have beenpositive changes brought in by the RuddGovernment since the 2007 election (e.g., theabolishment of temporary protection visas; theclosing of detention centres in Nauru andManus Island), some issues are stillproblematic (e.g., the use of Christmas Island;some Australian territory remaining excisedfor the purposes of migration; the detentiondebt) and the positive changes have not beenlegislated. If more refugees arriveunauthorised, there is no guarantee thatAustralia will not end up with the samesituation again resulting in both trauma for therefugees themselves and for their advocates.The past decade has shown serious humanrights violations with respect to refugees; wedo not want a continuation of this situation. LetAustralia learn from past mistakes.ReferencesAustralian Broadcasting Corporation. (2006).If this is a Man? Men and mandatorydetention: In All in the Mind. RetrievedMarch 16, 2006 from http://www.abc.net.au/rn/allinthemind/stories/2006/1496927.htmAustralian Council of Heads of Schools ofSocial Work. (2006). We’ve BoundlessPlains to Share: The First Report of thePeople’s Inquiry into Detention. Melbourne:Author.Austin, P., Silove, D., & Steel, Z. (2007). Theimpact of immigration detention on themental health of asylum seekers. In D.Lusher & N. Haslam (Eds.), Seeking asylum(pp. 100-112). Sydney: Federation Press.Betts, K. (2001). Boatpeople and public opinionin Australia. People and Place, 9(4), 34-48.Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematicanalysis in psychology. Qualitative Researchin Psychology, 3, 77-101.Briskman, L. & Goddard, C. (2007). Not in myname: The people’s inquiry into immigrationdetention. In D. Lusher & N. Haslam (Eds.),Seeking asylum (pp. 90-99) Sydney:Federation Press.Briskman, L., Latham, S., & Goddard, C.(2008). Human Rights Overboard: SeekingAsylum in Australia. Scribe, Melbourne.Burnside, J. (2008). Watching brief: Reflectionson human rights, law, and justice.Melbourne: Scribe.Calhoun, L. G., & Tedeschi, R. G. (1998).Beyond recovery from trauma: Implicationsfor clinical practice and research. Journal ofSocial Issues, 54, 357-372.Carver, C. S. (1997). You want to measurecoping but your protocol’s too long:Consider the Brief COPE. InternationalJournal of Behavioral Medicine, 4, 92-100.Carver, C. S., Schier, M. F., & Weintraub, J. K.(1989). Assessing coping strategies: Atheoretically based approach. Journal ofPersonality and Social Psychology, 56, 267-283.Cohen S., Kamarck, T., & Mermelstein, R.(1983). A global measure of perceived stress.Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 24,385-396.Coombs, A. (2003). Mobilising rural Australia.Griffith Review, 125-135.Corlett, D. (2005). Following Them Home: TheFate of the Returned Asylum Seekers.Melbourne: Schwartz.Crock, M., & Saul, B. & Dastyari, A. (2006).Future Seekers II: Refugees and IrregularThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Resisting refugee policy28Migration in Australia. Sydney: TheFederation Press.Cunningham, M. (2003). Impact of traumawork on social work clinicians: Empiricalfindings. Social Work, 48, 451-459.Demmer, C. (2002). Stressors and rewards forworkers in AIDS Service Organizations.AIDS Patient Care and STDs, 16, 179-187.Flanagan, J. C. (1954). The Critical Incidenttechnique. Psychological Bulletin, 51, 327-359.Four Corners (2008, 15 th September). TheGuards’ Story. Canberra, Australia:Australian Broadcasting Commission.Gosden, D. (2005). What can ordinary peopledo? Reflections on advocacy. MigrationAction, 27, 26-32. Retrieved 24 th October,2008 from www.ajustaustralia.com/resource.php?act=attach&id=336Gosden, D. (2006). What if no one had spokenout against this policy? The rise of asylumseeker and refugee advocacy in Australia,PORTAL Journal of MultidisciplinaryInternational Studies, 3(1). Retrieved 19 thSeptember, 2008, from http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/ojs/index.php/portal/issue/view/7/showTocGueritault-Chalvin, V., Kalichman, S. C.,Demi, A., & Peterson, J. L. (2000). Workrelatedstress and occupational burnout inAIDS caregivers: Test of a coping modelwith nurses providing AIDS care. AIDSCare, 12, 149-161.Hesse, A. R. (2002). Secondary trauma: Howworking with trauma survivors affectstherapists. Clinical Social Work Journal, 30,293-310.Huensberg, M., Nott, K. H., & Bradbeer, C.(1998). An exploration into occupationalstress experienced by HIV health careprofessionals who work withingenitourinary medicine settings. Journal ofOccupational Health Psychology, 3, 83-89.Human Rights & Equal OpportunityCommission. (2004). Report of the NationalInquiry into Children in ImmigrationRetrieved 19 th September, 2008, from http://www.hreoc.gov.au/human_rights/children_detention_report/index.htmlLazarus, R., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stressappraisal and coping. New York: Springer.Linzer, M., Gerrity, M., Douglas, J. A.,McMurray, J. E., Williams, E. S., & Konrad,T. R. (2002). Physician stress: Results fromthe Physician Worklife Study. Stress andHealth, 18, 37-42.Lincoln, C. (2008). Wellbeing and engagementin workers assisting refugee survivors oftrauma. Unpublished honours thesis, MonashUniversity, Victoria, Australia.Mares, S. & Newman, L. (Eds.), Acting fromthe heart: Australian advocates for asylumseekers tell their stories. Sydney: Finch.McNevin, A., & Correa-Valez, I. (2006).Asylum seekers living in the community onbridging visa E: Community sector’sresponse to detrimental policies. AustralianJournal of Social Issues, 41, 125-139.Morrissette, P. (2004). The pain of helping:Psychological injury of helpingprofessionals. NY: Brunner-Routledge.Pedersen, A., Kenny, M. A., Briskman, L., &Hoffman, S. (2008). Working with Wasim:A convergence of community. AustralianCommunity Psychologist, 20, 57-72.Pedersen, A., Watt, S., & Hansen, S. (2006).The role of false beliefs in the community'sand the federal government's attitudes towardAustralian asylum seekers. AustralianJournal of Social Issues, 41, 105-124.Pedersen, A., Watt, S., & Griffiths, B. (2007).Prejudice against asylum seekers and the fearof terrorism: The importance of context. InV. Colic-Peisker & F. Tilbury (Eds.), Settlingin Australia: The social inclusion of refugees(pp. 38-55). Centre for Social andCommunity Research, Murdoch University,Perth.Raab, C. (2005). What motivates out-groupfocused collective action? Testing the dualpathway model of social movementparticipation with the Australian refugeemovement. Unpublished honours thesis,The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Resisting refugee policy29Swinbourne University of Technology,Hawthorne, Australia.Raviola, G., MacKoki, M., Mwaikambo, E., &Delvecchio Good, M. J. (2002). HIV,disease plague, demoralization and‘burnout’: Resident experience of themedical profession in Nairobi, Kenya.Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 26, 55-86.Resick, P. A. (2001). Stress and trauma. EastSussex: Psychology Press.Reynolds, M. (2004). Australians welcomerefugees: The untold story. Unpublisheddocument.Steel, Z., Silove, D., Brooks, R. Momartin, S.,Alzuhairi, B., & Susljik, I. (2006). Impact ofimmigration detention and temporaryprotection on the mental health of refugees.British Journal of Psychiatry, 188, 58-64.United Nations High Commissioner forRefugees. (1997). The state of the worldsrefugees: A humanitarian agenda. NewYork: Oxford University Press.Yardley, L., & Bishop, F. (in press). Mixingqualitative and quantitative methods: Apragmatic approach. In C. Willig & W.Stainton-Rogers (Eds.). Handbook ofqualitative research methods in psychology.Sage: London.his statistical advice along the way, andChristina Ballantyne and David Nicholson fortheir technical assistance.Address correspondence toAnne PedersenSchool of PsychologyMurdoch UniversityMurdoch WA 6150email: A.Pedersen@murdoch.edu.auNote1 For the purposes of the present study, theterm ‘refugee’ will be used as a generallabelling of the people who seek refuge inAustralia, as opposed to the distinguishingbetween a ‘refugee’ who is accepted as oneoffshore and an ‘asylum seeker’ whose claimfor a refugee status is yet to be determined.AcknowledgementsThe authors gratefully thank Paul Bain, HelenDavis, Sue Hoffman, Craig McGarty and MaryAnne Kenny for their useful comments on anearlier draft, although the authors take fullresponsibility for the views stated herein. Wethank Stuart Carr for his advice regarding theCritical Incident Technique, Brian Griffiths forThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


30Together but Separated: The Acculturation Experience of LatinAmerican Women in AustraliaAlthough individuals immigrate fordiverse reasons and within complex contexts,the decision is often connected to the hope ofmore satisfactory conditions of life in the newcountry and a better future for their children.The adaptation processes of immigrants in adistant culture represent a complexreadjustment of taken-for-granted values,ideals, and ways of behaving and expressingthoughts and emotions.When individuals seek to adjust to adifferent culture, acculturation takes place.Acculturation is a phenomenon experiencednot only by immigrants, but also by thereceiving society, who is affected by newmembers from other socio-culturalbackgrounds. Redfield, Linton and Herskovits(1936) indicated that acculturation was the“phenomena which results from when groupsof individuals having different cultures comeinto continuous first-hand contact, withsubsequent changes in the original culturalpatterns of either or both groups” (p. 149).John W. Berry, who explainedimmigrants’ adjustment as the result of arelatively free-choice strategy (Berry, 1980,1990, 1997), developed one of the most citedmodels of acculturation. Berry (1990)Romina Iebra AizpurúaAdrian T. FisherVictoria UniversityImmigrants to a new land face significant acculturation issues. Although definitions ofacculturation reflect a mutual change, most research and positioning considers this tobe, mostly, a one-way process. It is also perceived as a process that seems to have anend point, and is reasonably comparable across all members of a group. In the currentresearch, the position of 13 Latin American immigrant women, with an average of 32years in Australia, is considered. Data from interviews indicated that acculturation isstill an ongoing process for these women, with many barriers imposed. Englishlanguage proficiency is seen as a key element for them to integrate, but they still faceissues of overt and covert discrimination on grounds of accent and skin colour andexpectations of assimilation. The challenges of acculturation are compounded for thewomen as they were often excluded from the original decisions to emigrate, had toestablish a new household and life – but did not have the necessary formal andinformal social support networks on which to draw.identified four possible acculturation outcomes:integration (when immigrants decide to balanceand incorporate parts of the broader culturewhile maintaining their ethnic culture andidentity), assimilation (when immigrants do notmaintain their ethnic background and adopt thereceiving society’s values and culture),separation (when immigrants place great valueon their own ethnic background and try to avoidinteraction with mainstreamers), ormarginalisation (when immigrants do not haveany interest in interacting with the broadersociety). According to Berry, acculturation isobserved as the result of the selection of aspecific strategy by the immigrants.Although Berry (1990) suggested thatmost immigrants are relatively free to select anadjustment strategy, the acculturation process isa phenomenon where intra and intergrouprelations take place, and where immigrants andthe host society attitudes meet and relate. Thedominant society’s expectations of immigrants’acculturation greatly impact on the finaloutcomes and the place immigrants have in thehost country. According to Sonn and Fisher(2005), acculturation is not the outcome of aunidirectional process, rather a bi-directionalsocial exchange where immigrants and hostThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Acculturation experience31cultures impact and influence on each other.While more research is needed to betterunderstand the content and intention of hostsociety’s attitudes and expectations towardsacculturating groups, some authors (e.g.,Horenczyk, 1997; Ward, 1996) have alreadystressed on the impact of these attitudes onimmigrants’ adjustment process.A key phenomenon leading to a positiveadaptation among immigrants is the ways theybalance the cultural maintenance and thecontact interaction with the new society(Berry, 2005; Berry, Kim, Power, Young, &Bujaki, 1989; Phinney, 2002). However, theintegration outcome only takes place whenminority groups adopt some values of thereceiving community, while the dominantgroup accepts institutional and culturalchanges that would reflect the needs of amulticultural society. As Berry, Poortinga,Segall and Dasen (1992) indicated, amulticultural environment needs to establishcertain conditions to promote integration: anextensive acceptance and freedom to expressand maintain cultural diversity; relatively lowlevels of discrimination and racism, positiveattitudes among different ethno culturalgroups; and a certain level of identificationwith the main receiving society.Immigrants’ adjustment outcomes are adirect result of a combination of factors, someof them developed prior to relocation – such asreasons and contexts that lead to immigration,age, educational background, knowledge of thehost country’s language and gender (Berry,1997) or while the acculturation takes place –such as intergroup relationships (Tajfel, 1978;Tajfel & Turner, 1979) where immigrants andhost members’ attitudes and expectations overacculturation influence each other (Horenczyk,1997; Leong, 2008; Nesdale, 2002).Gender and its Impact on AcculturationWhile general patterns related tointernational immigration and acculturationoutcomes have been studied, little work hasfocussed on the gendered nature of theimmigrant experience. According to someresearchers (e.g., Dion & Dion, 2001;Hondagneu-Sotelo, 1992; Raijman &Semyonov, 1997), gender compounds theimmigration and acculturation outcomes, asimmigrant women often experience greaterhardships than immigrant men.As the academic interest in femaleimmigration emerged in the United Statesduring the 1970s (Pedraza, 1991; Sinke, 2006),researchers were able to identify that women,especially from minority groups, oftenexperienced discrimination and a complexcombination of challenges, struggles andresponsibilities while adjusting to a new country(Dion & Dion, 2001; Hondagneu-Sotelo, 1992;Staab, 2004; Sullivan, 1984; Toro-Morn, 1995).This often has negative impacts on their lives,especially in the case of immigrant mothers,who without family support or new establishedsocial networks in the new country had tocombine an overloaded routine of outside work,domestic duties and childcare (Fernández Kelly,2005; Raijman & Semyonov, 1997).The complex phenomenon involved in theadjustment of immigrant women needs to beinvestigated further – especially as theexperiences of immigrant women to Australia islittle evident in the extant literature. Althoughthere is some academic data analysing theacculturation process of Latin Americans inAustralia (Amézquita, Amézquita, & Vittorino,1995; Botzenhart, 2006; Lopez, Haigh, &Burney, 2004) and the subsequent identitychanges of their children (Vittorino, 2003;Zevallos, 2003, 2004), research related to Latinwomen’s acculturation experiences is scarce(Moraes-Gorecki, 1991) and mostly publishedwithin community centres as brief reports( Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs,1985; D'Mello, 1982; Stone, Morales, & Cortes,1996).Latin American Immigration to AustraliaFrom the late 1960s onwards, Australianofficials were sent to South America to developimmigration programs in order to increase theAustralian population. The major LatinAmerican immigration wave occurred during theThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Acculturation experience321970s and 1980s. After that period, the numberof Latin immigrants stabilised, a changerelated to the end of dictatorships in mostaffected countries and more favourableeconomic conditions. The Latin immigration inAustralia can be divided in three major periodsof time, occurring during the late 1960s, andthen during the 1970s and the 1980s. MostLatin American immigrants related two maincauses to leave their countries: economichardships and political persecution(Botzenhart, 2006).The understanding of the complex – andoften conflictive – factors involved in LatinAmerican women’s adaptation to Australianlabour and socio-cultural contexts seemsnecessary in order to pinpoint when, how andwhy immigrant women experienced challengesand conflicts, the opportunities they had toresolve them and what could be suggested tofacilitate a better acculturation outcome ofimmigrant women in Australia. This research,therefore, aimed to explore how LatinAmerican women experienced immigrationand acculturation processes; the impact ofthese on their personal and professional lives;and the perceived acculturation outcomes forthem.MethodParticipantsThis paper presents findings frominterviews with 13 South Americanimmigrants in Melbourne (between the ages of45 – 75 years) who moved to Australia in thelate 1960’s, 1970’s and early 1980’s. At thetime of the research, these women had beenliving in Australia for an average of 32 years.All participants are natives of Spanishspeakingcountries in South America(Argentina, Chile and Uruguay). Participantswere recruited through a number of socialagencies and through responses from Spanishlanguage radio interviews. Participants had tohave come to Australia as adults, and had livedin Australian for at least 20 years.Instruments and ProcedureQualitative data in the form of personalnarratives and responses to questions werecollected through in-depth semi-structuredinterviews. The interview schedule wasdeveloped within a phenomenologicalperspective, expecting to deriveinterpretations and not general facts oruniversal laws. This approach facilitates theintersection of personal biographies, specifichistorical context and broader cultural andsocial values (Smith, Flowers, & Osborn,1997; Smith & Osborn, 2004; Willig, 2001).Interpretative phenomenological analysis(IPA) is a qualitative methodology developedby Jonathan Smith specifically forpsychological research. This methodologytakes an idiographic approach and – incontrast to nomothetic studies – seeks tounderstand contingent, specific andsubjective phenomena. IPA assists theresearcher to understand how and whyindividuals experience certain phenomena,being able to derive main themes and subthemes related to the research questions.Results and DiscussionMuch of the previous literature onimmigration and acculturation provides anunderstanding of the impact of separatevariables. From this research it was possibleto identify the compounded effects of lowlevels of English knowledge, restricted workand educational opportunities, limited socialand family support in Australia, unaffordablechildcare services, and economic constraintson the ongoing acculturation processes of theparticipants.Language, Education and Labour ChallengesWomen with low levels of educationand limited communicational skills in Englishwere consigned to work at factories orcleaning services. The high concentration ofimmigrant women in semi-skilled orunskilled positions in Australia was identifiedby many authors (Alcorso, 1991, 1995;Amézquita et al., 1995; Cox, Jobson, &Martin, 1976; Pettman, 1992; Stone et al.,1996). Similarly, this study found thatimmigrant women often deal with harshThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Acculturation experience33psychological and physical consequences ofthese work settings. Within this scenario,individuals rarely feel rewarded and work longhours under unpleasant, stressful and,sometimes, unhealthy conditions. Thisoutcome negatively impacted on women’spsychological wellbeing, often leading tofeelings of sadness, helplessness, frustrationand stress. Apart from working under difficultconditions, these women were also expected torun the households and look after the children,following traditional gender roles:My first job was as a cleaner,there I cried the biggest tears ofmy life. Later I started working atthe factories and that was anotherstorm to pass through. I would sitto work at the factory, and Iwouldn’t be able to even look atmy side! (...)You work like ananimal until you reach homecompletely exhausted! On top ofthat, I had my own family, so Iwould go home and kept onworking…(Mara 1 )Overcharged with responsibilities, the onlyavailable time they had to pursue anyeducational training was after work. Therestricted access to low fees childcare services,combined with no established family or socialsupport networks in Australia worked as a trapfor the immigrant women who were willing toupgrade their professional and educationalskills:I felt particularly frustratedbecause the years passed and Icouldn’t finish my education.Here I had the barrier of thekids! Because I didn’t haveanyone who could take care ofthem! Now, I am 53 years oldand I’m trying to take somecourses, but you find that thelanguage barrier is still there.That you are still missingsomething in English…(Mara)Similar barriers to achieving personal andlabour outcomes by immigrant women inSydney were identified by Cox et al. (1976)who concluded that childcare represented themajor problem working immigrant women facein Australia. Work, education and languageoutcomes were often related to their domesticreality and the available resources to assist themwith childcare. According to Cox et al.,Australian government policies overlooked theneeds of working women by not fullyconsidering the difficulties and traumas ofimmigrating to a new country with no family orsocial support resources, balancing paid workwith domestic responsibilities.Although most of the women sawEnglish language facility as a key to integrationin Australia, their capacity to pursue languageeducation was directly connected to theavailability of free classes and childcareservices. During the 1970s, free languageprograms were offered during the first twoyears after arrival. This was not very helpful tomost participants, who often did not recognisethe availability, or who had other prioritiesduring the first couple of years in Australia.Looking for permanent and affordableaccommodation, finding job offers, schools fortheir children, and taking care of domestic andchildcare duties represented common prioritiesfor most of them. When they felt more adjustedto their new reality, and were able to attendEnglish classes, frequently the first two yearshad already passed and the classes were nolonger free. Apart from that ineffective timing,the lack of low fee childcare services wasidentified as another negative factorcompounding the language learning process.Most participants, as new immigrants, hadneither relatives nor an established socialsupport networks to rely on and ask forassistance from. Consequently, even if theywere motivated and willing to pursue furtherlanguage and professional training, they oftendid not have many opportunities to do so.As D’Mello (1982) indicated, manyimmigrant women who worked in factories,cleaning services or hospitality could not affordThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Acculturation experience34to pay regular childcare fees. Apart fromreceiving low wages, they also had to face thehigh costs and consequences of theinternational relocation. Moreover, immigrantfamilies often added to their expenses somekind of financial help to relatives whoremained in their country of origin. Accordingto the author, even in the cases whenimmigrants can afford to pay low childcarefees, most kindergartens and day care servicesin Victoria do not give working parents –especially those who work in factories – theopportunity to match their working hours tothe opening and closing times of the centres.As a result of women’s limited English,they remained in manufacturing and cleaningjobs for many years, often experiencing lowlevels of self-satisfaction, feeling helpless andisolated:I used to cry, cry and cry. I criedso much because I didn’t knowthe language and I didn’t haveany relatives. I couldn’tcommunicate here. My life waswork at the factory – what mymum always feared us to do - andhome, nothing else. I couldn’tunderstand the TV, I couldn’tread, it was very difficult to learnit. With time, I overcame thelanguage problems by studyingeveryday by myself, or with mykids, using the dictionary all thetime. But it was hard…(Stella)I worked at the factory for 28years. I stayed there because itwas good that I could go backhome quickly to be with the kids. Icouldn’t take any English classesbecause I had to go back homeand take care of the kids, myhusband used to work many morehours than me and I couldn’tleave them alone all day. I startedtaking some classes close to homeand I used to take the kids alongwith me. The problem is that thekids were already tired after 7hours of school, feeling hungry,and …it didn’t work. The lack offamily support also affected mein the sense that I didn’t havetime to study English, so that’swhy I stayed at the factory.Whatever English I learnt I didit listening to people at thefactories, a very bad spokenEnglish, a language spoken byimmigrants…talking likeTarzan! (Rita).Social ChallengesAccording to Vega, Kolody and Valle(1987), the satisfactory adjustment ofimmigrants is also related to their capacity toresolve interpersonal stressors associatedwith breaking-up social networks in thehomeland and replacing them in the newcountry. The relevance of immigrants’ socialresources and the relationship with mentalhealth outcomes was the research focus ofmany authors (e.g., Kuo & Tsai, 1986; Lin &Ensel, 1989; Lin, Ye, & Ensel, 1999; Thoits,1982; Vega et al., 1987) while others haveinvestigated the impact of specific ethnicsupport from immigrants’ own community(e.g., Lopez et al., 2004; Miranda &Umhoefer, 1998; Noh & Avison, 1996; Noh,Beiser, Kaspar, Hou, & Rummens, 1999). Asparticipants were not able to fully expressthoughts and feelings in English, they tendedto socialise with co-nationals, or otherSpanish-speaking individuals in Australia. Asa result, they were cut-off from interactinginformally with members of the host society.Some women described the impact of limitedlanguage skills on their social life:I don’t feel integrated inAustralia because I don’t havefriends. I have some Englishspeakingfriends, but very few,we can’t talk and have aconversation. I don’t know howto express myself as I haven’tThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Acculturation experience35studied English…I’ve been livingin this house for 3 years and Idon’t exchange anything else than“good morning” and “bye bye”with the neighbours. My friendsare only Spanish-speaking peopleand Latinos (Lucia)When I arrived I made manySpanish-speaking friends, as Icouldn’t speak English. Aftermany years I told my husbandhow I used to suffer, I used to cryevery time I would receive lettersfrom my parents. You come to thiscountry and you don’t feel lovedbecause you feel so lonely! (Rita)Although other participants improvedtheir skills in English and reached efficientcommunication levels, they constantly reportednot feeling part of the broader society, nothaving close relationships with Anglo-Australians and facing different types ofdiscrimination and segregation. According toLeslie (1992), it would be naïve to simplysuggest immigrants to establish stronger socialnetworks with individuals from the hostsociety if the mainstream culture is notgenuinely open to immigrants and theircultural heritage. The limited identificationwith Australian culture and the restrictedfriendship with members from the broadersociety was a common phenomenon among theLatin American women who participated inthis study:I would say that the case ofLatin immigrants mixing onlywith Latinos it’s even justifiable.Here the culture doesn’t open toyou with strength and doesn’topen its arms to the point youcan say “this person it’s a truefriend of mine!” Australians arevery simple people, but theydon’t offer you that kind offriendship, so what remains isthat Arabs will get together withArabs, Argentineans withArgentineans… becauseAustralia doesn’t deliversomething strong (Isabel)The last intimate contact neverhappens, you always remainwanting for more… So… thoseimmigrants’ marvellous stories,so shocking, so meaningful, theyare not a part of the nationalmentality. They are often lost...(Carmen)One always has that thing ofbeing the “wog”… Even if youspeak the language, even if youare a citizen (…) you are alwaystreated as you are not from here(Dora)The lack of close relationships betweenLatin American and members from the broadercommunity was exacerbated by discriminationepisodes frequently related to immigrants’English skills or, most frequently, accent:Discrimination? The accent mightbe. I felt it when I applied for aposition at a phone company. Theysaid that my accent was too strong(she laughs). That wasdiscrimination! I said that myaccent could be strong, but that Iwas speaking in perfect Englishwith them! Afterwards I said “no…it can’t be possible”…these aremoments that make you realise that“no…I can’t be one ofthem” (Laura)At my workplace, everywhere, youalways feel some kind of hiddenracism. If you have an accentpicking up the phone, they assumethat you are the cleaner (Elsa)If you apply to any job and youdon’t speak 100% or you do it withThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Acculturation experience36an accent, you are lower than therest. Discrimination is ineverything you do. Then, you feelupset, helpless…I wonder why Ican’t do anything else…why Ican’t (Mara)Conflictive experiences due toparticipants’ accent were frequently reportedas a continuous struggle. Language and accentrelateddiscrimination have been analysed byvarious authors (Alcorso, 1989; Colic-Peisker,2002; Stein, 1984) working with non-Englishspeakingimmigrants in Australia. As Colic-Peisker indicated, language had been a majorsetback for many immigrants. Althoughcommunication skills were not an entryrequirement during the 1960’s and 1970’s inAustralia, the low levels of English knowledgeonce in the host country represented a severeintegration barrier. As the author indicated,high levels of communicative English mightnot be indispensable for unskilled or low paidjobs, but without good language masteryimmigrants remained alienated and unable tofeel “at home”.Colic-Peisker (2002) also indicated thatimmigrants in Australia are recognised and“ranked” as members of diverse ethnic groupsaccording to their own ethnic language andaccent in English. Ethnic languages andaccents are often interpreted as a mark ofimmigrants’ social and labour status. In mostcases, immigrants with non-Australian nativeEnglish accents are still observed as “culturalinsiders” while non-native English speakers(carrying any level of foreign accent) areconsidered as “cultural outsiders”. NativeEnglish language is considered, then, as arelatively hidden, but strong core value foranyone to fully belong to the Australian nation.This phenomenon was also pinpointed byCallan and Gallois (1987), indicating therejection of foreign-accented speech by Anglo-Australian listeners, opposed to the positivereception to educated British accents. Theauthors observed that most immigrant groupsexperienced some level of pressure to performor imitate the English accent of the broadercommunity in order to feel completelyintegrated to Australia.The gender factor aggravated thechallenges of the acculturation process.Although women’s place in society haveexperienced a major change since the 1970swith their large incorporation to the labourmarket, advanced birth control methods, and theinfluence of feminist values, Latin Americanwomen are still under the influence oftraditional family values (Amézquita et al.,1995; Iebra Aizpurúa, Jablonski, & Féres-Carneiro, 2007). This was common amongparticipants:Although I call myself a feminist, Istill do 3 or 5 times more things athome than my husband to maintainall the things that I want, myindependence, and at the end Imaintain everything! Women areabsolutely overcharged of duties. Isee myself as a fighter, as the headof the family, that’s why I’ve triedto overcome the difficulties. Ibelieve that if the woman breaksdown, all the rest breaks down.Sometimes I say “I am a weakstrongperson”. Always fightingfor our kids, for our families, withthe fact of being an immigrant…(Elsa)As a woman in Uruguay you are incharge of all the domestic duties,and if you decide to work outsidehome…then, patience! You still haveto do everything the same way! Thatis your role, that is your function!But women here still work a lot. Ithink that women here areovercharged of duties, I see it in myfamily (Iris)These factors pushed women to a difficultreality, juggling between outside paid work,domestic and childcare duties. Although womenhave gained many rights and social spaces inThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Acculturation experience37today’s world, their daily routines have becomemore complex, demanding and often conflictive(Darvishpour, 1999; Raijman & Semyonov,1997). The maintenance of traditional gendervalues within Latin American immigrant familieshave then compounded the challengesencountered in Australia due to the accumulationof duties without any kind of support fromfamily, friends or childcare services.The Compounding Effects of the AcculturationChallenges on Women’s LivesAs a result of the conditions andexperiences encountered while adjusting toAustralia, participants experienced limiteddegrees of integration to the broader Australiancommunity. Frequently, feelings ofhomesickness and perceived social distancebetween host and immigrants’ values andculture, limited skills in English anddiscrimination episodes worked as influentialfactors impacting on the acculturationoutcome. Apart from that, the combination oflow levels of education, lack of childcareservices, and limited family and social supportdeeply impacted on immigrants’ availability tolearn the host country’s language, a key factortowards integration:I don’t feel integrated 100%. Youreally have to spend time withEnglish-speaking people, beintegrated. But I feel there isalways a barrier, maybe because Ididn’t work in anythingprofessional. It’s like you feellimited, you can enjoy theAustralian day but you know youwere not born here, and my kids,although they were born here, theydon’t feel it either (Laura)My own adaptation was verydifficult, because you have thelanguage barrier, and also thefact that I couldn’t finish with myeducation. That was reallydifficult to me. On the other side,it’s the adaptation process toanother culture. I foundAustralians and their culturemuch colder than us, that kind ofcoldness that you don’t know howto brake into. Now it’s different.Although I don’t feel integrated Ifeel 100% adapted (Mara).Despite adjusting to Australian life, mostwomen were feeling socially separated from thebroader community, regardless their level ofEnglish, labour outcomes or motivation tointegrate. The feeling that Australian mentalitydoes not absorb and integrate immigrants’background and life stories as part of thenational picture was a frequent comment. Manyindicated that, although they worked towardstheir own integration process, they often did notfeel accepted as equal members of theAustralian society:My adaptation happened withtears of blood. Because theydon’t accept you, even if youspeak the language and you area citizen. It was hard (Dora)Until today, 30 years later,people still ask me “what do youdo? When did you arrive? Whydid you come?” It makes youfeel that you never belong to thisplace! Here I feel like they havea second thought when they askme that, like… “and when doyou leave? (Elsa)Until today I say that I amadapted and not. Slowly westarted getting into the society,slowly…slowly. I do all that isnecessary here and goeverywhere. But I don’t stopthinking about my things inArgentina, my friends, the music,the barbecues and all our food,…our things… I’m here and Icry! I’m there and I cry!…it’ssomething that you can’t get outThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Acculturation experience38of your mind… (Alma)ConclusionsImmigration and acculturation arecertainly challenging transitions in life.However, these experiences do notnecessarily need to translate into conflictiveand traumatic issues. Negative acculturationoutcomes take place if immigrants do notpossess the skills and opportunities toovercome the relocation and acculturationchallenges, and if the receiving society isnot prepared to support and integrateminority members into its social,educational, labour and politicalenvironments. The main findings of thisresearch indicate that many of the issues andconflicts encountered by this group of 13Latin American immigrant women, after anaverage of 32 years in Australia, remainedunresolved and emotionally challenging.Findings showed not only thatacculturation represented a continuousprocess for immigrants – not just anoutcome – but also that it should be betterunderstood as a two (rather than one)dimensional process rather than just one.According to Ward (1997; Ward &Kennedy, 1993), Berry’s acculturationmodel should be distinguished into twoseparate domains: psychological(individuals’ levels of mental health,psychological wellbeing and personalsatisfaction in the new country) and socioculturaladaptation (connected to a sociallearning framework, refers to the acquisitionof adequate social skills and behaviours tosuccessfully adapt to daily routines in thenew environment). Ward (1996, 1997) madethe distinction between acculturationprocesses and the different strategiesimmigrants follow is not clear in mostresearch on acculturation and needs furtherinvestigation. This research’s participantspresented low levels of both, socio-culturaland psychological adaptation.Due to the specific challengesencountered in Australia and theircompounding effects, many factors necessaryfor a positive integration remained unresolvedfor these women. Limited language knowledgeskills, lack of social and family support, andrestricted childcare services often translated intoa handicap for women’s integration toAustralia. As a result, many women not onlyremained trapped within unskilled or semiskilledservices, interacting mainly with otherimmigrants in similar conditions, but also didnot have the resources to deal with theemotional consequences of those conflictiveissues. As a consequence of not being able tointegrate into other labour and socio-culturalenvironments, participants suffered restrictedlevels of personal satisfaction with their lives asmembers of a new society. The Latin Americanwomen interviewed in this study learnt to adjustthemselves to life conditions in Australia, butthe limitations experienced while exchangingwith the broader community remained mostlyunsettled. Alma’s narrative: “I’m here and Icry, I’m there and I cry…it’s something that youcan’t get out of your mind” is a way toexemplify this phenomenon. To most of them,acculturation represented a process and adifficult emotional transition that continues toconfront them. Thirty-two years later,participants still felt that being an immigrantwoman in Australia was a never-endingexperience, mostly associated with its demandsand the unavailable resources to find a positivepsychological and practical resolution. AsLaura described, the idea of moving toAustralia was part of an adventure, but one forwhich she paid a high personal and emotionalprice. The experience “still goes on”, as sheexplained while breaking into tears.Another finding is directly connected tothe legacy of the White Australia policy and theassimilation ideals and its impact on theexpectations held by members of themainstream society towards immigrants.Although Australia has officially embraced theideology of multiculturalism, seeking theintegration of immigrants from all ethnicbackgrounds, participants experience a differentThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Acculturation experience39reality. After more than three decades inAustralia, many women still felt like outsiders,not treated as locals by the broader community.Questions from host members regardinglanguage skills, accent, skin colour, ethnicbackground or their reasons to immigrateworked as constant reminders that they weredifferent and not considered members of theAustralian community. In spite of Australia’smulticultural discourse, the official goal tointegrate immigrants is daily translated to anexpectation of assimilation. Informally, beingAustralian is still associated to the whiteAnglo-Saxon identity (Colic-Peisker, 2002,2005; Zevallos, 2003, 2004).Accepting and following assimilation inAustralia would signify on immigrants’ givingup their own ethnic identity and theconnections to Latin American values andways of behaving. Living in a community thatexpects minority members to assimilate andgive up their sense of self could lead to highlevels of personal conflicts. As manyparticipants experienced and acknowledged, tosuccessfully integrate to a new countryimmigrants need to efficiently speak thedominant language and to possess thenecessary labour and social skills to become acontributing member of the society. However,this research showed that those factors are notenough to be considered locals in Australia.For that to take place, immigrants need toreduce as much as possible their ethnicdifferences, looking, talking and behaving asclose as possible to members of themainstream. The contradiction between anofficial political discourse supportingintegration and the daily reality immigrantsfaced – pushed to assimilate – reinforced thecultural distances between Australian valuesand immigrants’ sense of identity.The lack of connections with theAustralian community – due to perceivedcultural distances or discrimination episodes –also reflected on a constant melancholy, lossand frustration for not being able to beaccepted and feel “at home” after spendingmost part of their lives in Australia. Accordingto Ward and Rana-Deuba (1999), psychologicaladaptation is necessary to cope with severaltypes of stress encountered in inter-culturalinteractions. It is strongly predicted by effectivesources of social support. The lack of familysupport in the new country or restrictedrelationships with members of the mainstreamcommunity had a negative impact onparticipants’ wellbeing, as Elsa described:“It’s always a continuous fight, youhave to be on top of everything,because you don’t have any otherkind of support. Here, you don’thave a grandmother or an auntie oranyone to share all that involveskids, work…marriage. It’s a bit “toomuch” just for one self!”.Acculturation proved to be a difficult process tomost participants, as summarised by Lucia:the impact of being an immigrantwoman almost all my life hasn’tbeen very good. I mean, good in asense, but leaving your own country,your family and friends, that doesn’tworth it for what you gain. Whatyou leave behind, the spiritual, whatyou love, people and neighbourswho talk to you and want to see you,that kind of support and connection.I love that and you can’t have itfrom here, it’s not possible, it’ssomething lost.As a result, women remained socially isolatedfrom the mainstream society. Being differentwas perceived as a negative phenomenon byboth dominant and minority groups andtranslated, over time, into social separation andthe reinforcement of a sense of rejection. Theseissues remained unresolved to mostparticipants, who although recognised thebenefits of immigration to Australia, were notable to feel accepted and feel at home aftermore than three decades.ReferencesAlcorso, C. (1989). Newly arrived immigrantwomen in the work force: A report for theThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Acculturation experience40Office of Multicultural Affairs. Wollongong,Australia: Centre for Multicultural Studies,University of Wollongong.Alcorso, C. (1991). Non-English speakingbackground immigrant women in theworkforce. Wollongong, Australia:Published for the Office of MulticulturalAffairs, Dept. of the Prime Minister andCabinet by the Centre for MulticulturalStudies, University of Wollongong.Alcorso, C. (1995). Migrant women,marginality and public policy. Infocus(Ethnic Communities' Council of NSW), 18,22-23.Amézquita, L., Amézquita, R., & Vittorino, R.(1995). Latin American families inAustralia. In R. Hartley (Ed.), Families andcultural diversity in Australia (pp. 167-190).St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin.Berry, J. W. (1980). Acculturation as varietiesof adaptation. In A. M. Padilla (Ed.),Acculturation: Theory, models and somenew findings (pp. 9-25). Boulder, CO:Westview.Berry, J. W. (1990). Psychology ofacculturation: Understanding individualsmoving between cultures. In R. W. Brislin(Ed.), Applied cross-cultural psychology(pp. 232-253). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Berry, J. W. (1997). Immigration, acculturationand adaptation. Applied Psychology: AnInternational Review, 46, 5-68.Berry, J. W. (2005). Acculturation: Livingsuccessfully in two cultures. InternationalJournal of Intercultural Relations, 29, 697-712.Berry, J. W., Kim, V., Power, S., Young, M.,& Bujaki, M. (1989). Acculturationattitudes in plural societies. AppliedPsychology: An International Review, 38,185-206.Berry, J. W., Poortinga, Y. H., Segall, M. H.,& Dasen, P. R. (1992). Cross-culturalPsychology: Research and applications.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Botzenhart, N. (2006). An investigation ofSouth American migration to Australia.Retrieved June 2007, from http://www.embachile-australia.com/en/community/documents/Latin_Migration_to_OZ.docCallan, V. J., & Gallois, C. (1987). Attitudestoward language and accent: A review ofexperimental and survey research.International Migration Review, 21, 48-69.Colic-Peisker, V. (2002). Croatians in WesternAustralia: Migration, language and class.Journal of Sociology, 38, 149-166.Colic-Peisker, V. (2005). "At least you're theright colour": Identity and social inclusion ofBosnian refugees in Australia. Journal ofEthnic and Migration Studies, 31, 615-638.Cox, E., Jobson, S., & Martin, J. (1976). Wecannot talk about our rights. Sydney: NSWCouncil of Social Service.Darvishpour, M. (1999). Intensified genderconflicts within Iranian families in Sweden.NORA, 7.Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs.(1985). Spanish-speaking women in theworkforce: A research report. Canberra,Australia: Author.Dion, K. K., & Dion, K. L. (2001). Gender andcultural adaptation in immigrant families.Journal of Social Issues, 57, 511-521.D'Mello, A. (1982). Child care or recreation: Amigrant woman's dilemma. Melbourne:Victorian Co-Operative on Children'sServices for Ethnic Groups.Fernández Kelly, M. P. (2005). Delicatetransactions: Gender, home, and employmentamong Hispanic women. In M. Baca Zinn, P.Hondagneu-Sotelo & M. A. Messner (Eds.),Gender through the prism of difference (pp.313-322). New York: Oxford UniversityPress.Hondagneu-Sotelo, P. (1992). Overcomingpatriarchal constraints: The reconstruction ofgender relations among Mexican immigrantwomen and men. Gender and Society, 6,393-415.Horenczyk, G. (1997). Immigrants' perceptionsof host attitudes and other reconstruction ofcultural groups. Applied Psychology: AnThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Acculturation experience41International Review, 46, 35-38.Iebra Aizpurúa, R., Jablonski, B., & Féres-Carneiro, T. (2007). Brazilian andArgentinean families: Between tradition andmodernity. InterAmerican Journal ofPsychology, 41, 189-196.Kuo, W. H., & Tsai, Y.-M. (1986). Socialnetworking, hardiness and immigrant'smental health. Journal of Health and SocialBehavior, 27, 133-149.Leong, C.-H. (2008). A multilevel researchframework for the analyses of attitudestoward immigrants. International Journal ofIntercultural Relations, 32, 115-129.Leslie, L. A. (1992). The role of informalsupport networks in the adjustment ofCentral American immigrant families.Journal of Community Psychology, 20, 243-256.Lin, N., & Ensel, W. M. (1989). Life stress andhealth: Stressors and resources. AmericanSociological Review, 54, 382-399.Lin, N., Ye, X., & Ensel, W. M. (1999). Socialsupport and depressed mood: A structuralanalysis. Journal of Health and SocialBehavior, 40, 344-359.Lopez, O., Haigh, C., & Burney, S. (2004).Relationship between hardiness andperceived stress in two generations of LatinAmerican migrants. AustralianPsychologist, 39, 238-243.Miranda, A. O., & Umhoefer, D. L. (1998).Depression and social interest differencesbetween Latinos in dissimilar acculturationstrategies. Journal of Mental HealthCounseling, 20, 159-172.Moraes-Gorecki, V. (1991). Domesticity andLatin American women in Australia. In G.Bottomley, M. de Lepervanche & J. Martin(Eds.), Intersexions: Gender, class, culture,ethnicity. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.Nesdale, D. (2002). Acculturation attitudes andthe ethnic and host-country identification ofimmigrants. Journal of Applied SocialPsychology, 32, 1488-1507.Noh, S., & Avison, W. (1996). Asianimmigrants and the stress process: A studyof Koreans in Canada. Journal of Health andSocial Behavior, 37, 192-206.Noh, S., Beiser, M., Kaspar, V., Hou, F., &Rummens, J. (1999). Perceived racialdiscrimination, depression, and coping: Astudy of Southeast Asian refugees in Canada.Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 40,193-207.Pedraza, S. (1991). Women and migration: Thesocial consequences of gender. AnnualReview of Sociology, 17, 303-325.Pettman, J. (1992). Living in the margins:Racism, sexism and feminism in Australia.Sydney: Allen & Unwin.Phinney, J. S. (2002). Ethnic identity andacculturation. In K. M. Chun, P. BallsOrganista & G. Marín (Eds.), Acculturation:Advances in theory, measurement, andapplied research (pp. 63-82). Washington,DC: American Psychological Association.Raijman, R., & Semyonov, M. (1997). Gender,ethnicity, and immigration: Doubledisadvantage and triple disadvantage amongrecent immigrant women in the Israeli labormarket. Gender and Society, 11, 108-125.Redfield, P., Linton, R., & Herskovits, M.(1936). Memorandum for the study ofacculturation. American Anthropologist, 38,149-152.Sinke, S. M. (2006). Gender and migration:Historical perspectives. InternationalMigration Review, 40, 82-103.Smith, J. A., Flowers, P., & Osborn, M. (1997).Interpretative phenomenological analysis andthe psychology of health and illness. In L.Yardley (Ed.), Material discourses of healthand illness (pp. 68-91). London: Routledge.Smith, J. A., & Osborn, M. (2004).Interpretative phenomenological analysis. InG. M. Breakwell (Ed.), Doing socialpsychology research (pp. 229-254). Oxford,UK, Malden, MA: British PsychologicalSociety and Blackwell.Staab, S. (2004). In search of work.International migration of women in LatinAmerica and the Caribbean. Selectedbibliography. "Mujer y Desarrollo" series,The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Acculturation experience42No. 51. Santiago, Chile: EconomicCommission for Latin America and theCaribbean (ECLAC). United Nations.Sonn, C. C., & Fisher, A. T. (2005).Immigration and adaptation: Confrontingthe challenges of cultural diversity. In G.Nelson & I. Prilleltensky (Eds.), Communitypsychology: In pursuit of liberation andwell-being (pp. 348-363). New York:Palgrave Macmillan.Stein, P. (1984). Discrimination and prejudicein access to work and in the workforce. InD. Phillips & J. Houston (Eds.), Australianmulticultural society: Identity,communication, decision making.Blackburn: Drummond.Stone, L., Morales, P., & Cortes, J. (1996).Queremos trabajar, we want to work:Research project on the needs of theSpanish speaking community inemployment, training and education 1995.South Melbourne: Celas/Prodela.Sullivan, T. (1984). The occupational prestigeof immigrant women: A comparison ofCubans and Mexicans. InternationalMigration Review, 18, 1045-1062.Tajfel, H. (1978). Differences between socialgroups: Studies in the psychology ofintergroup relations. London: AcademicPress.Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1979). Anintegrative theory of intergroup conflict. InW. G. Austin & S. Worchel (Eds.), Thesocial psychology of intergroup relations(pp. 23-48). Monterey, CA: Brooks/Coole.Thoits, P. A. (1982). Conceptual,methodological, and theoretical problems instudying social support as a buffer againstlife stress. Journal of Health and SocialBehavior, 23, 145-159.Toro-Morn, M. I. (1995). Gender, class, familyand migration: Puerto Rican women inChicago. Gender and Society, 9, 712-726.Vega, W. A., Kolody, B., & Valle, J. R.(1987). Migration and mental health: Anempirical test of depression risk amongimmigrant Mexican women. InternationalMigration Review, 21, 512-530.Vittorino, R. (2003). Ego identity among youngpeople of Spanish speaking Latin Americanimmigrant families in Melbourne, Australia.Unpublished PhD thesis, Victoria University,Melbourne, Australia.Ward, C. (1996). Acculturation. In K. R. Landis& R. S. Bhagat (Eds.), Handbook ofIntercultural Training. Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage.Ward, C. (1997). Culture learning, acculturativestress, and psychopathology: Threeperspectives on acculturation. Commentaryon "Immigration, acculturation, andadaptation" by John W. Berry. AppliedPsychology: An International Review, 46(1),58-62.Ward, C., & Kennedy, A. (1993). Psychologicaland socio-cultural adjustment during crossculturaltransitions: A comparison ofsecondary students overseas and at home.International Journal of Psychology, 28,129-147.Ward, C., & Rana-Deuba, A. (1999).Acculturation and adaptation revisited.Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 30,422-442.Willig, C. (2001). Introducing qualitativeresearch in Psychology: Adventures intheory and method. Philadelphia, PA: OpenUniversity Press.Zevallos, Z. (2003). That's my Australian side:The ethnicity, gender and sexuality of youngAustralian women of South and CentralAmerican origin. Journal of Sociology, 39,81-98.Zevallos, Z. (2004). You have to be Anglo andnot look like me: Identity constructions ofsecond generation migrant-Australianwomen. Unpublished PhD thesis, SwinburneUniversity, Melbourne, Australia.Note1 All names are pseudonyms to protect theprivacy of the participants.The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Acculturation experience43Address correspondence toAdrian T. FisherSchool of Social Science and PsychologyVictoria UniversityPO Box 14428Melbourne VIC 8001email: Adrian.fisher@vu.edu.auThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Psychological Sense of Community as a Framework to Explore Adolescence andNeighbourhoodsLyn O’GradyAdrian FisherVictoria UniversityAdolescence is considered a time of change, and, to some extent, upheaval.Psychological Sense of Community has been utilised as a framework for understandingadolescents’ experiences in their neighbourhoods. The present study explored theexperiences of 10 adolescents from two urban schools in eastern Australia, a specialistsetting for students with a mild intellectual disability, and a mainstream school. Using amodified version of Photovoice, participants were actively engaged in takingphotographs about their day-to-day lives in their neighbourhoods. The photographswere supplemented by individual semi-structured interviews and small groupdiscussions. The role of neighbourhood, including factors the participants consideredimportant in their neighbourhoods, as well as other aspects of their lives were discussedwith similarities found between the two groups. Both groups of participants wereinvolved in community activities although participants with a disability required morefamily support in accessing activities. The dynamic nature of neighbourhoods andbroader concepts of communities, including the role of technology, were also exploredduring the research project.44Adolescence is defined as the periodbetween the onset of puberty and earlyadulthood. During this time, individuals arefaced with a myriad of rapid and complexchanges – physical, cognitive, social andemotional – which may lead to a range ofexperiences with some unprecedentedchallenges. An increased discrepancy betweensexual and psychosocial maturity has arisendue to earlier pubertal changes and social andeconomic factors resulting in increaseddependency on parents during early adulthood(Kleinert, 2007; Patton & Viner, 2007).Although adolescence has traditionally beencharacterised as a period within one’s lifecycle when storm and stress is more likely tooccur than at any other life stage (Arnett,1999), an exploration of contemporarythoughts on adolescence within western culturesuggests that this is not always the case.Recent research has recognised theimportance of protective factors and has begunto explore the promotion of resilience inadolescents (e.g., Resnick, 2005; Vassallo,Smart, Sanson, & Dussuyer, 2004). Australianresearchers have clearly defined the criticalroles that families, schools and communitiesplay in supporting adolescents in negotiatingthe challenges that arise during this life stage(Fuller, McGraw, & Goodyear, 2002). Thiscontrasts with previous research which tendedto focus on the individualistic, and oftennegative, aspects of adolescent development,such as risk taking behaviours and antisocialbehaviours (Maggs, Frome, Eccles, & Barber,1997; Moore & Parsons, 2000).Adolescents are not, however, ahomogeneous group, although much previousresearch has only considered the experiences ofthose adolescents attending mainstream schools.Historically, people with intellectual disabilitieshave tended to be excluded from decisionmaking, community involvement and researchprojects, despite integration having beenadvocated for some time (Wituk, Pearson,Bomhoff, Hinde, & Meissen, 2006). Theexperiences of adolescents with intellectualdisabilities have only recently been explored(Bramston, Bruggerman, & Pretty, 2002; Pretty,Rapley, & Bramston, 2002). This researchconsidered how community connectedness isrelated to the perception of quality of life inThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Neighbourhood and adolescence47reporting several moves since his parents’marriage break up.ProcedureThe stages undertaken in Photovoice areimportant in setting the scene for the process aswell as utilising the opportunities it provides todiscover meaning. The induction workshopprovided an opportunity for the researcher tomeet with the participants, explain the purposeof the project, establish ground rules about theuse of the camera and begin initial datacollection through discussions which tookplace. Participants then collected thedisposable cameras to capture their day to daylives. The cameras were returned and thephotographs developed by the researcher.Individual interviews took place with eachparticipant using the photographs to explorewhat is important in their lives.A constructivist, grounded theoryapproach was used in the development of theresearch project and data analysis. Interviewswere transcribed and an initial thematic dataanalysis was undertaken by the researcher todevelop common themes arising from thediscussions and to consider what issues mayrequire further elucidation. Small discussiongroups were then held to explore issues withina small group setting. Further transcription andthematic data analysis then took place toidentify common themes between the twogroups of participants as well as within groups.Copyright release forms were signed by theparticipants and their parents authorising therelease of photographs for the purposes ofacademic publications.Results and DiscussionLong and Perkins (2007) describedPSOC as a multilevel construct with both placeand social elements, which are inextricablybound. They also suggested that PSOC isclosely related to social capital and otherfactors, including place attachment andcommunity satisfaction. The participants in thepresent study were asked to explore the waythey spend their time in their neighbourhood.In keeping with Long and Perkins’ argument,the participants from both groups relayed socialexperiences with neighbours as well as the roleof the neighbourhood as a place from whichthey gain access to the broader community andactivities outside of the neighbourhood.Mead (1984) referred to theneighbourhood as a place for children to learn tobecome members of their society throughexploration and adaptation. The role of variousadults in the neighbourhood was consideredcrucial in this regard. The importance of theneighbourhood in the lives of the participantswas explored in the present study. It was foundthat the participants from both groups ofparticipants identified relationships withneighbours. This often involved ambivalence asneighbours were identified as providing support,but also surveillance of their life. As outlined byMead, the neighbourhood increasingly served asa gateway from home to the external worldwhere the participants accessed communities ofinterest and ventured to meet friends or visitfamily.Regardless of which school theparticipants attended, those who had resided attheir current home for most of their lives tendedto know more neighbours than those who hadrecently moved. This supports researchundertaken by Chipeur et al. (1999) which foundthat adolescents who had lived at their currentaddress for 10 or more years reported moresupport in their neighbourhoods than those whohad lived there for less than 10 years. Thissuggests that these participants’ needs weremore likely to be met in their neighbourhood ifthey knew more neighbours. However, some ofthe participants in the present study who hadresided in their neighbourhood for a long timereported not talking to some of their neighboursor not knowing those neighbours who were newto the neighbourhood.Conversely, another participant detailedregular activities undertaken in her street withneighbours such as an annual street barbecue.She reported that she knew people in everycouple of houses. Another participant, who hadrecently moved, stated that although he had notThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Neighbourhood and adolescence48yet met his neighbours his family kept inregular contact with people from his previousneighbourhood, suggesting that importantbonds have been formed through relationshipsin neighbourhoods which are consideredvaluable and worthy of maintaining despitedistance. Some participants reported onlyknowing the neighbour immediately next door,whilst others named up to five neighbours theyknew. A participant from the specialist schoolreported that one of his neighbours drives himto the railway station each school day.Accordingly, the PSOC framework held truefor some participants, whose needs were metthrough the support of neighbours and whomaintained relationships formed within theneighbourhood. For other participants, thePSOC framework was less useful in explainingtheir experiences.Participants reported knowing friendsfrom their current and previous schools andsporting as well as from activity groups out ofschool. One participant reported having friendsin his street, although not spending as muchtime with them as he had in previous years.Participants, therefore, reported having to usetechnology, such as the internet (MSN oremail) and telephone, to keep in contact withtheir friends from school and other areas. Inthis way, the local neighbourhood no longermet the participants’ needs as their interestsand contacts broadened to communities ofinterest rather than geographical communities.This supports research undertaken by Obst,Zinkiewicz, and Smith (2002) which exploredthe place of identification within PSOC. Theycompared geographic communities withcommunities of interest (science fictionfandom) and found that participants reportedhigher levels of global PSOC with fandomthan with their geographic communities.Participants reported feeling morebelonging, ties, shared values, and influencewith fandom than with their local communities(Obst, Zinkiewicz, & Smith, 2002), suggestingthat interest rather than locality is moresignificant. It would appear from the presentstudy that the ability to travel outside of theirneighbourhood combined with technologicaladvances, such as the internet, may beenhancing accessibility of communities ofinterest for adolescents. Many of the participantsreported being close to shopping and youthactivity centres, but also reported having totravel out of their neighbourhood to participatein certain activities, such as karate, school and tovisit friends.Previous research (O’Grady, 2000)explored what adolescents liked and dislikedabout their neighbourhoods and found thatinteractions with people were important, as wasaccess to amenities such as shops, transport andthings to do. Participants in the current studyidentified similar factors they did and did notlike about their neighbourhoods. Both groups ofparticipants were able to clearly identify thosethings that were aesthetically pleasing as well astheir relationships with neighbours.Location close to shops, activity centres, thebeach and friends was considered important byparticipants. Participants reported that they didnot like graffiti, drag racing and noise in theirneighbourhoods.SafetySafety has consistently been associatedwith the experiences of adolescents withinneighbourhoods and communities and has beenexplored in relation to its association with PSOCparticularly for adolescents. It was identified byChipeur and Pretty (1999) as a significant factorin the Neighbourhood Youth Inventory andfeelings of unsafety were explored by Zani,Cicognani, and Albanesi (2001). Similarly,O’Grady (2000) found that safety was the mainrecurring theme in her research with Year 10participants who identified a range of safetyconcerns, including parental concerns aboutallowing their children to spend time in theneighbourhood, street lighting being inadequate,differences in attitudes towards safety betweenmales and females, and changes over time inrelation to community safety.In the present study, various aspects ofsafety, including personal and community safetyThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Neighbourhood and adolescence49within the neighbourhood were raised duringthe discussions. Sometimes the neighbourhoodwas perceived as a safe place for activities,such as playing in the park. John, a participantfrom the specialist school, in describing thepark shown in Photograph 1, revealed that “…It’s pretty safe there… I have to tell mumwhen I get back. .. Um she worries that I mightfall over, stuff like that.”Photograph 1. Photograph by John 2 . The park.Violence and noise tended to be the maincriteria by which participants determinedwhether their neighbourhood was safe or not.Christopher, from the specialist school,described his neighbourhood as safe:Yeah it’s [neighbourhood] verysafe really. Umm it’s good thatit’s safe I don’t really see any badpeople there in the court butsometimes down at the milk barbehind our house you can hear alot of burnouts and that. Noseriously where I live is quite safethere’s no stabbings or nothingnothing’s bad it’s just safeSafety concerns were raised during discussionsabout the neighbourhood with participants,particularly those from the mainstream school,who may have had greater awareness of risksthan participants from the specialist school.Issues of safety included both personal safetyin relation to the participants’ health as well ascommunity safety:Lots of kidnappings around myarea and school. I take [dog] withme for safety and medical help if Ineed it. One time he went and gothelp for me because of my illness.(Aleisha, mainstream school.)I’ve been a bit concerned about theneighbourhood. There have beensome stabbings. I’m scared aboutmy little brother he’s three and hasautism… Just a couple of days agoa guy tried to take my bike. Hemade a grab for it… I told my mumabout it. My mum said you couldn’tdo much about it…I’d never hadanything like that happen before.(Ben, mainstream school)And I’ve got my work and I’ve gota misty one [photo] of my workbecause that was one of my safeplaces but there’s been big brawlsoutside of my work so that’s not asafe place anymore. (Lisa,mainstream school)Perceptions of safety appeared to besignificant for some of the participants whotended to rely on anecdotal evidence in relationto gangs or appeared to associate graffiti withgangs.[Do you feel safe walking in yourarea?] No not really because theplace that we live is just a 10minute walk from a known gangarea… [How do you know?] Thereare tags there and from friends thatgot beaten up around there.(Crystal, mainstream school).For Lisa, the presence of a Safety House Zone,Photograph 2, offered a sense of safety and sheassociated this with friendliness within herneighbourhood:There’s a primary school justaround the corner from us andwe’re in a safety zone and we’vegot all the safety houses and stuff.It’s really good. Everyone is reallyfriendly.The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Neighbourhood and adolescence50Photograph 2. Photograph by Lisa. SafetyHouse zone.Neighbourhoods as Places to DevelopRelationshipsAs suggested by Long and Perkins(2007), PSOC involves the binding of socialconnections with place. For many participants,their neighbourhoods represented relationshipswith others and discussions often includedexamples of ways the participant or theirfamily members interacted with others. In thisway it appeared that the participants haddeveloped a sense of belonging and historywith their neighbours, both important elementsof PSOC. This was particularly evident duringthe group discussion at the specialist school.Yes they mum and dad talking tosome woman I forgot her name.Yes she’s an older woman.The neighbour next door if she’sgoing away she asked us to umcollect her mail and if we don’tgo away … Oh mail we take themail for them… And the one nextdoor if they go away andthey’ve got pets sometimes we feedit.The neighbour on that side theybuy us things like chocolates atChristmas … and they’ve got agarden light and they’ve got hotpeppers. Yeah and they’re so nice.My old next door neighbour cameto my 18 th .As noted by Chipeur et al. (1999), theseinteractions often included tangible support orfriendly gestures. Similarly, Wood (1974) foundthat neighbourhood for adolescents involvedmore than residence but a deeper connectionbetween the people and the place.For some of the participants, particularlythose from the specialist school, PSOC was notnecessarily evident as they identified that whilstthey may see people they had attended schoolwith, they would not necessarily be included intheir friendship groups. “Some of them my oldhigh school friends live down there but I seethem sometimes. They wouldn’t hang with me(laughter) I don’t see them that much” (John,from specialist school). This suggested that Johndid not view himself as belonging to hisneighbourhood in the same way as adolescentswithout disabilities, providing support forBramston et al.’s (2002) assertion that living inand feeling part of the community are not thesame.Shared Public Spaces in NeighbourhoodsMcMillan and Chavis (1986) describedstrong communities as those that offeredpositive ways for community members tointeract and honour each other. Research hasfound that public spaces, such as shoppingcentres, can be problematic for adolescents asthey can be the subject of, and subject to, thegaze of others. In this way adolescents may notalways feel included in the neighbourhood, butrather judged and monitored within it.Adolescents’ unsupervised presence in publicspace represents adolescents as in-between, notchildren or adults. This has led to media andadult representations of adolescents as disruptiveand threats to the safety of themselves andothers (Panelli, Nairn, Atwool, & McCormack,2002). Regardless of this research, it was agreedby participants in the current study that the localshopping centre provided a safe place for youngpeople to gather:There’s never been a fight downthere. The Plaza’s probably one ofthe safest places… There are peoplearound if something happens they’llThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Neighbourhood and adolescence51see you. In the streets if it’s dark noonewill see you. (Aleisha,mainstream school)We get no trouble at all just sittingaround and talking… Although onetime I was drinking a bottle of “V”and they’re [security guards] likeyou’re not allowed to drink thathere and I’m like what do you meanand they’re like no alcoholicsubstances on the premises and I’mlike no this is a “V” it invigoratesyou. (laughter) Yeah they’re likesorry man so I was being blastedfor nothing I’d done wrong it wasone of those maybe you shouldhave checked before you… (Martin,mainstream school)Lisa described her neighbourhood (assymbolised by her court sign in Photograph 3)as a special place for her:It’s kinda got all of the clouds andeverything… it’s always very foggyin the morning and stuff. I love it,it’s mystical. I’ll look out mybedroom in the morning and I’lljust see all these clouds and it’s sopretty. I love it. So I pictured thecourt sign and the clouds…I wakeup and see the fog. I walk to school.I used to go to [name of school]and um I’d walk to school in themorning and it would feel like I waswalking in the clouds. It was sonice.Photograph 3. Photograph by Lisa. My courtsign.Lisa, in reflecting upon her photographagain during the small group discussion,described how circumstances had changed forher since taking the photograph:And um I’ve got pictures of my areabut they were like misty because Isaid that was my mystical place. Idon’t know I don’t feel like thatanymore that’s changed. [Ok sowhat’s different? Why was thatimportant at the time?] I don’tknow. I just it was my safe littleplace…It appeared that for Lisa, despite the relativeshort time span between taking the photographand discussing it during the small group, herfeelings about the neighbourhood had changedand she struggled to explain how it had beenmore important to her previously. This suggeststhat feelings and experiences do not remainstatic, but change over time. This may beparticularly the case for adolescents given therapid developmental changes they areundertaking. It could be that day to dayexperiences impact on the way they feel aboutthe neighbourhood, resulting in differentfeelings and attitudes at different times.Neighbourhood as a Place for ActivitiesMaton (1990) found that meaningfulinstrumental activity was positively related tolife satisfaction, independent of social supportfrom friends and parents. Bramston et al. (2002)found that adolescents with an intellectualdisability accessed community facilities lessthan those without a disability. Accordingly, thepresent study aimed to explore the types ofactivities undertaken and the level ofparticipants for both groups of adolescents.Whilst an initial analysis of data in relationto activities undertaken by both groupssuggested that the participants from thespecialist school tended to be involved inpassive and indoor activities, further discussionsand data analysis suggested that there was awide variety of activities that participants fromboth school settings engaged in. These included:• Sporting activities – watching AustralianThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Neighbourhood and adolescence52Football League football, watching familymembers play sport, informal and formalsports participation;• Spending time with family and friends,including parties, shopping and going torestaurants;• Playing computer games and talking onMSN;• Music – playing guitar and drums,listening to music.Although some of the participantsfrom the specialist school participated indisability-specific programs such assoccer and the circus, they alsoparticipated actively in manymainstream activities, such as going tothe Australian Football League football,bowling, movies and the gym. Bramstonet al. (2002) identified that adolescentswith a disability tended to participate incommunity activities less frequently thantheir peers without a disability. Thecurrent research did identify differencesbetween the two groups in relation tosome opportunities for participation.This was particularly evident for one ofthe female participants from thespecialist school who stated:I want to [play sports] but I don’tknow what team and my mumand dad goes oh what are yougoing to do that for? They alwayssay stuff like that. I hate that. Mybrother says you’re good at ityou should play.Similarly, John, from the specialist school,acknowledged the difficulties he encounteredas he became older and the demands on himincreased: “[I’ve played] cricket for 10 yearsnow. One year to go, I’m not good enough tobe in the seniors.” Participants from themainstream school reported performing(singing and dancing) and writing (songs and abook) – activities not shared by participantsfrom the specialist school. Martin, from themainstream school, was a member of a localcommunity group which organised musicevents.There was a greater reliance on the supportof family for participants with a disability, withmany activities (such as bike riding, going to thelibrary and attending the gym) undertaken withfamily members. This finding confirmedprevious research which found that parentsplayed a crucial role in enabling theparticipation of adolescents with a disability inschool and community extracurricular andrecreational activities (Kleinert et al., 2007).Participants from the specialist school alsoincluded their work experience and TAFEactivities when discussing ways they spend theirtime. It appeared that they tended to participatein more organised and structured activities thanparticipants from the mainstream school. John,from the specialist school, did identify playingfootball by himself in a local park and Jayne,from the specialist school, reported that shesometimes goes shopping independently byherself or with friends. Participants from themainstream school appeared to be moreindependent in their activities although spendingtime with family members was included. One ofthose participants reported that her ill-health hadreduced her ability to participate actively insports and had also impacted on her interest insocialising with friends. These experiencesconfirm the desire for autonomy and potentialbarriers (such as illness) which affectadolescents from both groups as they strive tonegotiate the developmental trajectory betweenchildhood and adulthood (Noom, Dekovic, &Meeus, 1999).For participants such as Clare, from thespecialist school, football was supported at alocal level with her brother’s involvement(Photograph 4). Clare’s family regularlywatched him play with friends and extendedfamily members. The politics of the game andloyalty for her brother was reported by Clarewho expressed considerable frustration at herbrother not being chosen to play:… but now the coach said that hedoesn’t really get a game anymore. Idon’t know why but yeah. I’mThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Neighbourhood and adolescence53starting to get angry… Because heshouldn’t you know whenever hecomes he goes on the bench andit’s not fair to him. Everyone elsegets a game and I think my brothershould tell the coach what’shappening and that and sometimesI have like tea there and yeah…Photograph 4: Photograph by Clare. Brotherplaying football.The support provided by a local sporting clubto which the family belonged wasacknowledged by Lisa, from the mainstreamschool, who reported family involvement withthe football club as her brother had played, herfather had coached and she had been the clubphotographer. She described the supportprovided by the club following a familytragedy:Yeah we’re still close witheveryone we’ve sort of had thefootball club organise afundraiser for our family sowe’re very close with them butyeah dad just doesn’t he’s beencoaching for the last four yearsand he’s decided not to coachthis year. And [brother]’s messedup his knee quite a lot.Discussions about belonging to footballteams suggested that this involvement allowedparticipants to experience PSOC as theirparticipation involved membership of the team,provided fulfilment of needs and a sharedemotional connection with others. At times theywere able to influence their family or friendswith their opinions about the team’sperformance or predictions about futureprogress. There were usually symbols such asscarves and jumpers which acknowledged theirmembership. Their membership of the team mayalso have involved an identity with the team butalso with others who shared the membership.Having a space away from home was alsoidentified by John as useful when his grass athome is too wet to play football (Photograph 5).Whilst he identified the park as a place to play,it also provided interaction with others (whichhe did not always welcome).… [Yeah and is there anybody elsethat sort of hangs around the parkor is that …] Ahh little kids but theyget in the way they get in my way…They get in the way when they tryto play on the playground. [O.k. sothey’re a bit annoying?] They’re allright. Just one kid that tries to putme off when I kick the ball… Hegoes are you going to miss it thistime? [Laughter]Photograph 5: Photograph by John: The park atthe junction.The park provided a thoroughfare in herneighbourhood for Crystal, from the mainstreamschool. She identified her friend’s house asbeing close to the park. The pathway through theThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Neighbourhood and adolescence54Photographs 6 and 7: Photographs by Crystal. Park I walk through to get home.park led to her school as well as the broadercommunity.Growing Up and Away from theNeighbourhoodAdolescence, as a key developmentalstage, has proven to be a challenge forresearchers in identifying the relevance ofPSOC to adolescents (Pretty, 2002).Exploration of the activities within theneighbourhood often led to a discussion aboutchanges that occurred during adolescence andthe loss of childhood and associated activities,some of which had occurred within theneighbourhood with friends. For someparticipants, they had played as children withintheir neighbourhood – riding bicycles orspending time with friends. As their interestschanged and they no longer rode bikes theytended to report spending less time withfriends in their neighbourhood. This resultednot only in spending less time within theneighbourhood but a different way of viewingthemselves as they began to identify withpeople outside of their neighbourhood.Yeah when I was younger a lotmore time. I used to go on bikesyeah you know kick a footy yeahand maybe play a little bit ofbasketball because my body youknow our bodies have changed somuch like you just talk and that ...Yeah because when I was youngerI used to ride bikes a fair bit(Christopher, specialist school).… but I don’t know I’m not around myarea much when I go to see friends. It’snot like my little area anymore (Lisa,mainstream school).ConclusionPSOC was explored as a framework tounderstand the role of neighbourhoods in thelives of adolescents. It was shown in the presentstudy that PSOC as a model, whilst relevant attimes, did not capture the essence of those thingsconsidered important and meaningful to theparticipants. The elements that make up PSOC –membership, influence, integration andfulfilment of needs and shared emotionalconnections – were reported to have varyinglevels of importance in the lives of theparticipants. The sense of membership andbelonging was found to be important in relationto a number of communities, such as family,sporting groups, school and neighbourhood. Itappeared that the adolescents’ sense ofwellbeing was related to interactions andrelationships within multiple communities ratherthan one community only, providing support forresearch undertaken by Evans and Prilleltensky(2007) and Obst, Zinkiewicz and Smith (2002).Shared emotional connections were significantfor all participants and often appeared within thecontext of family relationships.The participants did not appear to haveinfluence within their communities. Importantly,they did not seem to seek to have influenceeither, preferring to have fun and connectionswith others rather than responsibilities that theyThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Neighbourhood and adolescence55may have considered to be more adult like.School was cited by some participants as aplace where they could have some limitedinfluence through participation in communityprojects and junior school council. For mostparticipants, however, school was referred toas a place for socialising and fun, aspects notwell captured by PSOC.All participants identified features of theneighbourhood that held significance for them,but acknowledged that, at their life stage, theirparticipation within the neighbourhood wasless active and played a less important rolethan when they were younger. Instead, theneighbourhood for the participants served as agateway to the external world, providingaccess to communities of interest. It was alsoidentified by some participants as a place ofsurveillance as neighbours monitored theirbehaviours. Some participants didacknowledge the potential support theyprovided and received from neighbours. Thiswas related to the number of neighbours theyknew and how long they had lived in theirneighbourhood, supporting previous research(Chipeur et al., 1999; Pretty, Andrews, &Collett, 1994).There were similarities between the twogroups of participants in relation to their levelof participation within the community;however, those with an intellectual disabilityrequired considerable support from familymembers to access community activities. Manyactivities were also undertaken with thesupport of the school in the form of workexperience rather then developedindependently within the neighbourhood orcommunity for those with an intellectualdisability.ReferencesArnett, J. J. (1999). Adolescent storm andstress, reconsidered. AmericanPsychologist, 54, 317-326.Boardman, J. D., & Saint Onge, J. M. (2005).Neighborhoods and adolescentdevelopment. Children, Youth andEnvironments, 15, 138-164.Booth, T., & Booth, W. (2003). In the frame:Photovoice and mothers with learningdisabilities. Disability and Society, 18, 431-442.Bramston, P., Bruggerman, K., & Pretty, G.(2002). Community perspectives andsubjective quality of life. InternationalJournal of Disability, Development andEducation, 49, 385-397.Brodsky, A. E., & Marx, C. M. (2001). Layersof identity: Multiple psychological senses ofcommunity within a community setting.Journal of Community Psychology, 29, 161-178.Brooks-Gunn, J, Duncan, G. J., Klebanov, P. K.,& Sealand, N. (1993). Do neighborhoodsinfluence child and adolescent development?American Journal of Sociology, 99, 353-395.Chipeur, H., & Pretty, G. M. H. (1999). Areview of the Sense of Community Index:Current uses, factor structure, reliability andfurther development. Journal of CommunityPsychology, 27, 643-658.Chipeur, H. M., Pretty, G. M., Delorey, E.,Miller, M., Powers, T., Rumstein, O.,Barnes, A., Cordasic, N., & Laurent, K.(1999). The Neighborhood YouthInventory: Development and validation.Journal of Community and Applied SocialPsychology, 9, 335-368.Evans, S. D., & Prilleltensky, I. (2007). Youthand democracy: Participation for personal,relational, and collective well-being.Journal of Community Psychology, 35, 681-692.Fuller, A., McGraw, K., & Goodyear, M.(2002). Bungy-jumping through life: Adevelopmental framework for thepromotion of resilience. In L. Rowling, G.Martin and L. Walker (Eds.) Mental healthpromotion and young people (pp. 84 – 96).Sydney: McGraw-Hill.Gustafson, P. (2001). Meanings of place,everyday experience and theoreticalconsiderations. Journal of EnvironmentalPsychology, 21, 5-16.The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Neighbourhood and adolescence56Kleinert, S. (2007). Adolescent health: Anopportunity not to be missed. The Lancet,369, 1057-1058.Long, D. A. & Perkins, D. D. (2007).Community social and place predictors ofsense of community: A multilevel andlongitudinal analysis. Journal ofCommunity Psychology, 35, 563-581.Maggs, J. L., Frome, P. M., Eccles, J. S., &Barber, B. L. (1997). Psychosocialresources, adolescent risk taking behaviorand young adult adjustment: Is risk takingmore dangerous for some than others?Journal of Adolescence, 20, 103- 119.Maton, K. I. (1990). Meaningful involvementin instrumental activity and well being:Studies of older adolescents and at riskurban teenagers. American Journal ofCommunity Psychology, 18, 297-320.McMillan, D. W., & Chavis, D. M. (1986).Sense of community: A definition andtheory. Journal of Community Psychology,14, 6-23.Mead, M. (1984). Neighborhoods and humanneeds. Children’s EnvironmentsQuarterly, 1, 3-5.Moore, S., & Parsons, J. (2000). A researchagenda for adolescent risk-taking: Wheredo we go from here? Journal ofAdolescence, 23, 371-376.Noom, M. J., Dekovic, M., & Meeus, W. H. J.(1999). Autonomy, attachmentand psychosocial adjustment duringadolescence: A double-edged sword?Journal of Adolescence, 22, 771-783.Obst, P., Smith, S. G., & Zinkiewicz, L.(2002). An exploration of sense ofcommunity, Part 3: Dimensions andpredictors of psychological sense ofcommunity in geographical communities.Journal of Community Psychology, 30,119-133.Obst, P., Zinkiewicz, L., & Smith, S. G.(2002). Sense of community in sciencefiction fandom, Part 2: Comparingneighborhood and interest group sense ofcommunity. Journal of CommunityPsychology, 30, 105-117.O’Grady, L. (2000). Neighourhood and wellbeing in young people. UnpublishedGraduate Diploma in Applied PsychologyThesis. Melbourne: Victoria University.Panelli, R., Nairn, K., Atwool, N., &McCormack, J. (2002). Hanging out. Printmedia constructions of young people inpublic space. Youth Studies Australia, 21,38-48.Patton, G. C., & Viner, R. (2007). Pubertaltransitions in health. The Lancet, 369, 1130-1139.Peterson, N. A., Speer, P. W., & McMillan, D.W. (2008). Validation of a brief Sense ofCommunity Scale: Confirmation of theprincipal theory of sense of community.Journal of Community Psychology, 36, 61-73.Pretty, G. M. H. (2002). Young people’sdevelopment of the community-mindedself: Considering community identity,community attachment and sense ofcommunity. In A. T. Fisher, C. C. Sonn, &B. J. Bishop, (Eds.) Psychological sense ofcommunity: Research, applications andimplications (pp. 183-203). New York:Kluwer Academic/Plenun.Pretty, G. M. H., Andrews, L., & Collett, C.(1994). Exploring adolescents’ sense ofcommunity and its relationship toloneliness. Journal of CommunityPsychology, 24, 346-358.Pretty, G., Rapley, M., & Bramston, P. (2002).Neighborhood and community experience,and the quality of life of rural adolescentswith and without an intellectual disability.Journal of Intellectual and DevelopmentalDisability, 27, 106-116.Puddifoot, J. E. (2003). Exploring “personal”and “shared” sense of community identityin Durham City, England. Journal ofCommunity Psychology, 31, 87-106.Resnick, M. D. (2005). Healthy youthdevelopment: Getting our priorities right.The Medical Journal of Australia, 183, 398-400.The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Neighbourhood and adolescence57Streng, J. M., Rhodes, S., Ayala, G., Eng., E.,Arceo, R., & Phipps, S. (2004). RealidadLatina: Latino adolescents, their school,and a university use Photovoice toexamine and address the influence ofimmigration. Journal of InterprofessionalCare, 18, 403-415.Vassallo, S., Smart, D., Sanson, A., &Dussuyer, I. (2004). At risk but notantisocial: Changes from childhood toadolescence. Family Matters, 68, 13-20.Wang, C. C., Cash, J. L., & Powers, L. S.(2000). Who knows the streets as well asthe homeless? Promoting personal andcommunity action through Photovoice.Health Promotion Practice, 1, 81-89.Wang, C. C., & Pies, C. A. (2004). Family,maternal and child health throughPhotovoice. Maternal and Child HealthJournal, 8, 95-102.Whitlock, J. (2007). The role of adults, publicspace, and power in adolescentcommunity connectedness. Journal ofCommunity Psychology, 35, 499-518.Wituk, S., Pearson, R., Bomhoff, K., Hinde,M., & Meissen, G. (2006). A participatoryprocess involving people withdevelopment disabilities in communitydevelopment. Retrieved January, 2006from www.selfhelpnetwork.wichita.eduWood, D. (1974). A neighborhood is to hangaround. Children’s EnvironmentQuarterly, 1, 29-35.Zani, B., Cicognani, E. & Albanesi, C. (2001).Adolescents’ sense of community andfeeling of unsafety in the urbanenvironment. Journal of Community andApplied Social Psychology, 11, 475-489.Address correspondence toLyn O’GradyDepartment of Education & Early ChildhoodDevelopmentP.O. Box 223Werribee Vic 3029email: ogrady.lynette.j@edumail.vic.gov.auThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Tuned In Parenting (TIP): A Collaborative Approach to Improving Parent-childRelationshipsLynn E. PriddisCurtin Health Innovation Research Institute (CHIRI)Curtin University of TechnologyGail WellsNgala Family Resource CentreKathie DoreNgala Family Resource CentreJanelle BookerCurtin University of TechnologyNoel HowiesonPerth, Western AustraliaThis paper describes a collaborative partnership between a community early parentingagency and a university psychology department to develop and deliver an innovativeprogramme for relationship issues in young families. The programme was to be in keepingwith the research and practice parameters of the agency. The processes involved in thedevelopment, trial and evaluation of the programme are outlined. Known as the Tuned inParenting (TIP) Programme it aims to promote reflective awareness in mothers and tobuild sensitive and responsive parenting. Agency staff members conduct a DVD-basedintervention in a reflective and collaborative manner with a small group of mothers whoengage in discussion around DVDs of their own interactions with their child. Qualitativeanalysis of participant interviews established that mothers perceive the programme asvaluable in increasing sensitivity to infant cues and engaged in reflection on their own styleof parenting. Parallel processes between organisations, between nurses and their clients,and between mothers and their babies facilitated genuine change on many levels. Theoryand practice from this project now underpins service delivery for the agency and review,evaluation, and adjustments are continually made as the agency moves towards bestpractice.A challenge facing professionals of manydisciplines today is how to keep up withcurrent research and to find ways to implementnew ideas in a planned and comprehensivemanner into everyday practice. This paperdescribes an innovative response to thischallenge undertaken by Ngala FamilyResource Centre, in Perth Western Australia.One of a consortium of five similar resourcecentres around Australia that established aresearch collaboration in 2001 to guide theadoption of evidence based approaches to theprovision of services to Australian families,Ngala was challenged to implement aninitiative identified by the consortium: theParenting Skills Development Framework(PSDF) (Tweddle Child & Family Health58Service, 2006). This framework guidesclinicians in multidisciplinary services toestablish a collaborative relationship withparents and build commitment to reach goals.The primary goal of the framework is toenhance parenting confidence and competence.Ngala was confronted with the task ofmaking an ideological shift in order to fullyembrace this goal. Staff required professionalhelp to deliver chosen goals but were somewhatfearful of being sidetracked by outside ‘expert’advice. The agency’s first step was to approachthe first author with whom they had had aprevious relationship, in which she haddemonstrated her method of workingcollaboratively with parents to improve theirparenting skills. They requested the first authorThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Tuned in parenting59sit down with them, listen to the objectives ofthe centre, consider whether her methodologycould be adapted to them and if so, whethershe could work with them to achieve thecompetence needed to deliver the resultantprogramme within their facility. The Tuned inParenting Programme (TIP) as it is today, isthe result of this collaboration.Evidence-based interventionprogrammes to improve parent-childrelationships have been reported (Cooper,Hoffman, Powell, & Marvin, 2005; Juffer,Bakermans-Kranenburg, & van Ijzendoorn,2008), with many of them using videofeedback for intervention at both the maternalrepresentational level and the behavioural level(Bakermans-Kranenburg, van Ijzendoorn, &Juffer, 2003; McDonough, 2005). One suchattachment-based programme designed fordelivery in groups is the Circle of Securityprogramme (Marvin, Cooper, Hoffman, &Powell, 2002), but as with most similarprogrammes, training in this methodology isintensive and expensive. For small agencieswanting a large-scale training programme,such costs are prohibitive. In addition, agencypersonnel once trained would then have thetask of introducing the programme in the localsetting and working out details of itsimplementation.For these reasons, Ngala sought todevelop a programme in collaboration with anexpert familiar with the goals and methodologyof attachment-based interventions. Since theirown objective was to establish a collaborativerelationship with parents and buildcommitment to reach goals with the aim ofenhancing parenting confidence andcompetence, it was hoped that this expert couldwork with them in a way that mirrored theseskills.Families who attend the Ngala ResourceCentre mostly request assistance and supportwith problems in their young children in theareas of sleep and settling difficulties, feeding,nutrition and behavioural issues. Many of themothers themselves show high screening testscores for stress level, depression and/or anxietyand the impact of these stressors on the parentchildrelationship was apparent to staff at theagency. Maternal state of mind and maternalsensitive responsiveness have both been foundto act directly on infant attachment security(Atkinson et al., 2005) and on healthy mentaldevelopment of the infant (Schore, 2003).When a mother is depressed, her capacity toaccurately interpret the emotional needs of herinfant is considerably impaired, as is her abilityto provide the emotionally-supportiveenvironment that is required for optimal childdevelopment (Murray, Cooper, Wilson, &Romaniuk, 2003). The quality of parent-infantinteractions during the first years of life has adirect influence on the child’s social, emotional,cognitive and physical development (Juffer etal., 2008; Mantymaa, Puura, Luoma, Salmelin,& Tamminen, 2004).As with the programmes discussed above,our approach has at its base the understandingsabout mother-infant relationships described inAttachment theory by Bowlby (1969, 1973,1980) who proposed that healthy developmentoccurs in the context of a supportive andattuned environment. What happens in therelationship between the mother and her childon a day-to-day basis becomes the template forfuture relationships. These patterns repeatedover time are internalised by the child and driveher external behaviours. Bowlby emphasisedthe reciprocal nature of the child's ties to hermother explaining that each is adapted to theother in the sense that where the child'sbehaviour fits that of her major caregivers andsocial environment, then her emotional andsocial development will follow a normal course.Developmental anomalies will occur when thechild's attachment strategies are not welladapted or are adapted to less-than-adequatesocial environments. He recognised that one ofthe strongest influences on the parenting that aninfant receives and the developing parent-childrelationships comes from the parent’s ownchildhood history and the sense the parentmakes of this.The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Tuned in parenting60Infant attachment theory has beenthoroughly researched over the 40 years sinceBowlby’s first publication, and is nowgenerally accepted. Mary Salter Ainsworthpioneered a standardised laboratory situationknown as the Strange Situation (Ainsworth &Wittig, 1969) to examine attachment and foundevidence of differences in quality ofattachment that are influenced by maternalresponsiveness to the infant (Ainsworth,Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978). Responsiveand attuned parents are those who aresensitively aware of their baby’s signals; whoaccurately perceive and interpret their infant’sattachment signals; and who respond to thempromptly and adequately (Ainsworth, Bell, &Stayton, 1974; Stern, 2002). The parent isaware of the infant’s mounting affect andmirrors the affect across modalities, acceptingand soothing negative affect and showingpleasure in infant satisfaction or excitement.The outcome is an infant who feels understoodby his/her parent and who can trust her parentto respond appropriately to his/her behavioursso that distress is alleviated and he/she is givencomfort when it is needed (Stern, 2002). It is insuch relationships that infants learn to soothethemselves and to manage their own affect.Infants naturally respond to sensitive andresponsive care co-operatively and becomesecure and well-socialised. Babies whoexperience relatively insensitive parenting tendto be fussy, demanding, uncooperative andgenerally difficult to handle (Ainsworth et al.,1974). Empirical studies have confirmed theimportant role that maternal sensitivity andresponsiveness play for later mental health ofthe child (Atkinson et al., 2005; van Ijzendoorn& Bakermans-Kranenburg, 1997). Themother’s internal representation of her ownattachment relationships has been shown toaffect her ability to provide such optimalparenting (Main, Kaplan, & Cassidy, 1985). Amother’s capacity to think about andunderstand behaviour, both her own as well asthat of her child and others in relation tomental states such as thoughts, feelings, desiresand intentions has recently been shown to beassociated with her ability to respondsensitively to the child (Allen, Fonagy, &Bateman, 2008).Where conditions are less thanoptimal for whatever reason, then interventionis indicated so that parents are empowered torespond sensitively to their infants’ needs and inturn to create a nurturing environmentconducive to healthy mental development(Sameroff, McDonough, & Rosenblum, 2005).The Collaboration between CurtinUniversity and Ngala Family ResourceCentreThrough discussion, it became apparentthat what was required at Ngala was threefold:1. The intervention programme itself;2. A system for the initial training of staff tocarry out all aspects of the programmewith a built-in mechanism for futuretraining of staff in the programme tobecome self-managed within the resourcecentre; and3. Procedures for the initial evaluation of thesuitability of the intervention and thecontinued evaluation of the efficacy of theprogramme.The results of deliberations on each of thesecomponents are discussed below.The ProgrammeThe intervention developed through thecollaborative process has been named TheTuned In Parenting Programme (TIP). The TIPprogramme aims to increase the caretakers’awareness of the importance of and the natureof sensitive attunement to infant signals andoptimal responsiveness to the signals. It isdesigned to offer an environment in whichparents working reflectively with facilitatorsand other group members explore their ownresponsiveness styles. The programme employsa small closed group format and, using videoclips of mother/child play sessions, focuses onbuilding on the strengths of each individualparticipant, while providing a supportiveenvironment within which participants canexplore some of the challenges that theyexperience within their own parent-infantThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Tuned in parenting61relationship. In the terms of attachmenttheory (Bowlby, 1998), the facilitators andfellow participants provide a secure base inwhich each mother might explore therelationship with her child in a collaborativemanner.The collaborative viewing of oneself onvideo is a technique that has widespread usein feedback delivery across many trainingcontexts and is used in many internationallyaccepted parent-child interventionprogrammes (Berlin, Ziv, Amaya-Jackson, &Greenberg, 2005; Juffer et al., 2008;McDonough, 2005). This technique givesopportunities for young parents who in reallife must respond immediately to the signalsof the baby to reflect on their interactions.This reflection occurs through later viewingof video clips of their interactions with theirinfants and the opportunity, for analysis,reflection and the generation of new ideasabout how to respond. The primary aim of theTIP group is to increase the sensitiveresponsiveness of participants, which in turnwill improve the mental health outcomes forthe children.The programme as developed forNgala, forms one component of the centre’scurrent service provision for self-referredclients and is offered to parents for whom it isdeemed by staff to be potentially useful. It isdelivered in a small group (3 to 6 parents)setting that meets for eight weeks and for twohours’ duration. Each parent-child dyad isfilmed for about 12 to 15 minutes prior to thegroup’s initial session in an unstructured playsituation with two brief separations andreunions. Parents only attend the group; theirinfants are held in mind by their presence inthe film. The TIP programme requires thattwo leaders facilitate each group and a thirdstaff member films the sessions withpermission of the participants.Sessions 1 and 2 are introductory andsupportive in style. These sessions feature anexplanation of the collaborative philosophythat underpins the group, introduction ofbasic concepts, and a warm up to groupprocesses. Prepared DVDs of parent-childinteractions are introduced and the facilitatorsencourage discussion of participant reactions tothese, based on gentle inquiry from anempathetic stance. The facilitators observe andmonitor emerging themes of group interaction.Sessions 3 to 6 focus on the DVDs of theparticipants’ own interactions with theirchildren. The parent who with her child is thesubject of the DVD is the focus of the sessionand her experiences are processed first. Thefacilitator demonstrates sensitiveresponsiveness, as she works with the mother,focussing on positive aspects of the parent-childinteraction in the DVD, and accepting thatdisjunctions will occur. Other group membersare encouraged to be aware of their ownemergent feelings as they watch the interaction.The final two sessions revolve aroundclosure. A variant of the Photovoice technique(Wang, Yi, Tao, & Carovano, 1998) is used aspart of the closure. Participants choosesignificant stills from their DVDs and composea phrase that is meaningful to them about theirexperience in the TIP group. They share thesewith other members of the group and take thephoto with printed caption to remind them oftheir experience.Staff TrainingThe programme requires intensivestaffing. For each intake of mothers into theprogramme, specific personnel are required tointerview parents, run screening measures, enterdata, assign some mothers to groups and othersto “wait” control groups, take charge of thechildren during the sessions, and to collate andanalyse data. It was agreed that agencymanagement would attend to these tasks. Inaddition, the TIP intervention requires skills infilming infant-mother interaction, skills inobserving the interactions and being able todiscern and describe these, and skills inmanaging a self-reflective parent group in afacilitative fashion. Agency managementcommitted to facilitate training for selected staffin all three key areas. The goal was toThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Tuned in parenting62orchestrate training so that the universityinvolvement was gradually phased out andtraining at the resource centre would becomeself-managed.The implementation of the trainingprogramme. Since Ngala required that as manystaff as possible be briefed on the introductionof the new programme and on its goals andbasic methodology, the entire staff of theagency, including those in administration,community, child and mental health nurses,mothercraft nurses, and social workers as wellas psychology students attended twoprofessional development sessions of twohours each designed to inform them about thebasics of attachment theory that provides theframework for the programme, and about thenature of the programme itself.Clinical staff were then invited to attendadditional seminars from which a committedgroup (n = 8) was formed (self selected and orencouraged by management to attend) whoundertook further training in parent-childobservation on a regular basis (90 minutesweekly for 15 weeks). Training involveddetailed observation of master tapes withparticular attention to the parents’ facialexpressions, use of voice, and positioning inrelation to the child. The pattern of turn takingand the nature of support offered the child afterseparations was also observed closely. In thesesessions, staff members were encouraged toexplore strengths and weaknesses that theythemselves bring to parent-infant observationmirroring the encouragement for self reflectiongiven in the group sessions with the mothers.They were encouraged to observe from thepoint of view of the baby, parent, relationshipand context including culture. Over time as inthe parent groups, a spirit of trust andcollaboration grew in which staff could discussnon-defensively what each brought to theobservations.The second stream of the trainingfocussed on the technical competence involvedin filming and replaying the parent-childinteractions. This included both setting up theroom and continued digital camera focus foroptimal observation of interactions, and filingand replaying the tapes. Five staff developedthe required skills.The third area of essential specifictraining involved conducting the TIP group.Qualities of a collaborative and therapeuticgroup leadership style as outlined by Farrell-Erickson, Endersbe, and Simon (1999) wereconsidered in selecting the leadership pool fromamong those expressing interest. The potentialleaders were introduced to theoretical aspects ofgroup leadership and group processes (Ringer,2002; Whitaker, 2001; Yalom, 1995) whichwere discussed with relevance to theirapplication to the video-based reflective natureof the planned TIP groups. Wherever possiblethe first author modelled for the training groupthe collaborative and reflective stance expectedfor leading the TIP group of mothers.To establish the iterative training processthe first author facilitated the first two groupswith a trainee co-leader, while a third traineefilmed the procedures. Weekly post-groupdebriefing sessions were conducted in thecontinued spirit of self-reflection andcollaboration. For the third mother group, theprevious co-leader acted as facilitator with anew co-leader trainee. The first authorcontinued to meet weekly with all traineepersonnel to debrief and discuss the sessions. Inthis way, a mechanism for the training of futureleaders and co leaders for the agency was setup.Framework for the Evaluation of theProgrammeThe focus of the collaborative project wasto bring the TIP programme into the agency andmodify it for ongoing use in that specificsetting. In keeping with the mission to useevidence-based practice, one aim of thecollaboration was to investigate the effects ofparticipation in the intervention programme(TIP) for parents who had attended a day orovernight stay at the family resource centre. Aframework for evaluation to ensure that theprogramme was meeting the agency’s goals wasThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Tuned in parenting63established and a process set up that wouldallow for continual monitoring of theprogramme’s effectiveness.This frameworkwill be described and details of the evaluationresults for the first two groups given.Design of the continuing evaluationprocess. Qualitative analysis of semistructuredinterviews that occurred before andafter the intervention provided outcome datafor the evaluation of the efficacy of the groupprogramme. A wait-listed control group wasalso interviewed. Due to the applied nature ofthe project the assignment to groups wasunable to be randomised. The interventiongroups as planned were too small forquantitative statistical data analyses. Since thewhole programme takes a phenomenologicalapproach, a qualitative methodology isappropriate. Nevertheless, concurrently, amore formal tool to track changes in parentsensitivity and responsiveness is beingdeveloped for later use should circumstanceswarrant more formal evaluation procedures.The evaluation is conducted in line with ethicalrequirements of Curtin University EthicsCommittee and in keeping with those of theAustralian Psychological Society. Theinterview data are supplemented bydemographic information and screeninginstruments.Screening instruments. The Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview(MINI) (Sheehan et al., 1997) is a shortdiagnostic structured interview designed togenerate 17 DSM IV or ICD10 Axis 1diagnoses in a 10 to 20 minute interviewdepending on the symptoms presented. Theinterview is used frequently by general medicalpractitioners and has been translated into over30 languages. Good reliability, sensitivity,specificity have been reported in clinical andnormal populations (Lecrubier, Sheehan,Hergueta, & Weiller, 1998). Its function in thisstudy was to provide a psychiatric profile ofthe group participants.A semi-structured interview was devisedfor the purposes of this project drawing uponthe attachment literature (Cooper et al., 2005;Slade, Sadler, & Mayes, 2005). It includedgeneral questions that required participants toreflect on and talk about various aspects ofthe mother-infant relationship, dailyinteractions within that relationship, how themother interpreted her infant’s ambiguousbehavioural cues and how she responded tothem. Many of the questions askedrespondents to provide a specific example orincident, rather than give general responsesthat may lack detail and/or accuracy. Theinterviews were of 25 to 45 minutes’ durationand were recorded on audiotape that was latertranscribed for the purpose of analysis.Evaluation of the Group ProgrammePre-intervention assessments for thecontrol and intervention group participantswere conducted in the fortnight prior to thecommencement of the group. These consistedof the MINI screen, the filming of the parentchildinteraction, and the semi-structuredinterview. Research assistants external to thegroup programme conducted the postintervention group structured interview forgroup members and controls in the weekfollowing the end of the group.ParticipantsTwo intervention groups of six parentinfantdyads each and six control group dyadswere planned, with infants aged between 6 to18 months. Participants were invited to jointhe project based on the presence ofsymptoms of maternal depression orrelationship difficulties with their infantsnoted by clinical staff on exit from theregular programme. For the first group, sixparents agreed to participate in the fullintervention group procedures. Only fouractually began in the group, and one wasforced to withdraw after four sessions due towork commitments. Only one mother agreedto be assessed as a control.The improved identification andrecruitment procedures for the second TIPgroup resulted in seven parents agreeing toparticipate and five continuing for the life ofThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Tuned in parenting64Table 1.Frequency of Self-reported Diagnostic Symptoms in TIP and Control Groups at Week 1Diagnostic Symptoms TIP ControlDysthymia 1 2Suicidal ideation 1 0Manic episode 2 1Phobia 6 3Obsessive Compulsive Disorder 3 1Excessive alcohol use 4 2Traumatic event 5 3Generalised Anxiety Disorder 4 3the group. For this group there were fivecontrol group participants who were offeredfirst choice in a participation group shouldfunding become available later. Control groupparticipants continued to receive regular childhealthrelated services.Data AnalysisContent analyses of the semi structuredinterview data were undertaken by tworesearch assistants according to the principlesand rigor outlined by Patton (2001). Pre andpost-intervention interviews from participantand control groups were de-identified andtreated as one sample, initially. After themeswere identified for the whole sample, thedifferences between groups were explored.Results and DiscussionAll caregivers in the participating dyadsin the study were female biological parents ofthe children. There was an even distribution ofgender in the children across participation andcontrol groups with seven males and sevenfemales. The mean age of the children wassimilar across groups; however, the range wasaffected by the inclusion of one participantwho was 18 months old, three months olderthan the other participating children, yet withinthe target range of the study. One notabledifference between the two groups was that theTIP groups included considerably more firsttimemothers than the control group with onlyone of six control group participants being afirst-time mother compared with five of eightTIP group participants being first-timemothers.All participants interviewed with theMINI screen indicated the presence ofpotentially disturbing symptoms in at least onecategory. There was very little differencebetween the control and TIP participants in thenumber and types of symptoms present (Table1).Although the sample is small thechanges identified in the interview data arepromising and are reported here in somedetail. Thematic analysis of the interview datayielded ten sub-themes that were groupedaround three themes: Relationship strain, Intunerelationship and Interpretation of cues(see Table 2). These are discussed in relationto each group (TIP and control) across the preand post interviews.Theme 1. Relationship StrainFive of the ten sub-themes that emergedfrom the data were clustered around the themeof Relationship strain. Included in thediscourse around this sub-theme werestatements that explicitly or implicitly referredto feelings of guilt, shame and inadequacy as amother as well as guilt specific to not givingThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Tuned in parenting65Table 2Themes and sub-themes elicited from the interview dataTheme 1 – Relationship strainSub-themes1. Guilt/shame in mother-infant relationship.2. Mother-infant relationship represented as being hard work.3. Emphasis on action.4. Emphasis on routines, rules, ‘right way’ of doing things.5. Mother experiences relief from anxiety when infant is happy or achieving.Theme 2 – In-tune relationshipSub-themes1. Mother loves child and feels loved in return.2. Mother values ‘being with’ the infant.3. Mother-infant relationship is harmonious and relaxed.Theme 3 – Interpreting child’s cuesSub-themes1. Awareness of infant’s physical needs only.2. Awareness of infant’s emotional needs (in addition to physical needs).equal time, attention or nurturance to theirinfant in comparison with their older childrenwhen they were babies. An example of thisfollows;…I think even though I don’t takeit out on him, in my mind I think Ilose patience more with him than Iever did with L but then I think“don’t beat yourself up about itbecause there are a lot moredemands going on” but I nevertake it out on him and I really tryand make sure that he doesn’t pickup on that either, but even I feelguilty about that….While the TIP group participantsfrequently expressed this sub-theme in the pretestassessment, there were considerably fewerexamples of it in the post-test assessment (twocompared with nine). Importantly, five of theeight TIP participants demonstrated this subthemeat the pre-test period and this numberreduced to two at post-test. This suggests thatparticipation in the TIP group might havereduced the guilt, shame and/or anxiety that hadbeen experienced by some of the participants inrelation to their role as a mother to their infant.Second, there were statements describingmothering as tiring, difficult and intense andanxiety-provoking. There was added strain intrying to be a “good mother”. Participants inboth the TIP and control group were almostequally as likely to mention this theme in bothpre and post intervention interviews, and forboth groups the number of instances the themewas mentioned was less in the post interventioninterview.Third, the participants made actionstatements with a focus of the mother on beingbusy, getting things done (often housework),teaching the child things that would enable him/her to accomplish and achieve in life and anemphasis on the child performing for others.One participant was concerned that her habitualThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Tuned in parenting66‘busy-ness’ was becoming hazardous for herson. Commenting on a recent run of minoraccidents in the home, she statedI just thought “Oh, I shouldn’t havebeen doing it. I should - I shouldhave just forgotten about it and -and focused on M” and, you know,“while they’re awake, they’reawake and that’s the way it is” butI’m too busy. I’m not too busy, I’mtoo determined to get things doneto do that.Statements where parents describedthemselves as active and busy were included inthis sub theme as well as statements about thechildren’s activity. In some cases the activitywas important to the mother, as for example,the child correctly naming colours or animalsin picture books. At other times, the mothers’delight was about an action that brought asense of mastery to the child. Below is onesuch example of the sub-theme ‘action’:“just when she does something likewhen she started walking or shedoes animal noises which I still getteary just thinking about the firsttime she did animal noises in frontof people, and people werelaughing at her and you think “Oh,she’s mine!”The within-group change across timewas notable in relation to this sub-theme. Inthe TIP group pre intervention interview, sevenof the eight participants recorded this subthemeof ‘action’ 17 times while in the postinterview for this group five participantsrecorded it seven times. By contrast, thenumber of control group participants whoreported this tendency increased over the sametime period from five to six participants, as didthe frequency with which it was identified inthe data (from 12 to 19 times). One of theemphases of the TIP group programme is thechild’s need for closeness and interaction withhis/her mother, and it is hoped that participantsbecome aware through their observations ofplay sessions that these needs are frustrated bymother’s busyness and would be even more soin the home with activity such as housework.This finding suggests participants took thisaspect of the programme on board and aftertheir experience in the group were less likelythan their control group counterparts toemphasise action and accomplishment (byeither the mother or child) in order to derivevalue as a mother.Fourth, the participants made statementsemphasising routines, rules and the ‘right way’.This is not a surprising theme to find sincemany clients of Ngala employ the services ofthe agency in order to receive instruction onthese aspects of caring for the child. For amother who is feeling highly anxious, sleepdeprived,or frustrated in her mothering role, thebelief that Ngala staff are the experts and haveall of the solutions to their parenting difficultiesmay be a very reassuring one. As such, thistheme may not be as prevalent in the generalpopulation of mothers.The frequency with which this theme wasidentified was the same in the pre-interventioninterview for both TIP and control groupparticipants. Where participants were invited totalk about a time they had spent with their childin recent days that stood out for them, theirdiscourse was characterised by a description oftheir care-giving routine, or the following of‘rules’ set by someone else who was deemed tobe an expert, or anxiety about performingcaregiving functions in ‘the right way.’Finally, the mothers made statementsexpressing feelings of relief from anxiety whenthe child was happy or achieving. All mothersappeared to feel re-assured when they observedpositive behaviours on the part of the child(e.g., laughing, performing, or being happy),that they were ‘doing a good job’.Theme 2. In-tune RelationshipThree of the ten sub-themes identified inthe data, clustered around the theme of motherand child being ‘in tune’. Common to thesethree sub-themes was a sense of reciprocity, andan emphasis on the relationship with the child.Two examples of this theme are:The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Tuned in parenting67…I came through the door the firstafternoon that she’s had thebabysitter and she just - her face litup and she just had to eat me. Youknow, she gave these big, big, bigmouth-open kisses all over my faceand my arms and just, just “Oh,Mum! Mum! There you are.” Yeah,just, you know, just all over me.…just having her around and whenshe looks at you and you know thatshe does want you and she doeswant you to look at her for aminute, not ‘cause she needsanything just she does want to be apart of you.This theme was found substantially morefrequently in the control group than the TIPgroup at the pre-intervention interview (ninetimes compared with three). However, thisbalance had reversed post-TIP. While for thecontrol group the number of mothers whodemonstrated awareness that their infantsloved them remained constant over time, thenumber of TIP group participants whodemonstrated the same awareness increased tofrom three of the eight participants to five aftercompleting the TIP group programme. Thissuggests that participation in the TIPprogramme is associated with a positivechange in the frequency with which mothersexperience a sense of reciprocal love with theirinfant.In order for a mother to provide anoptimal emotional environment within whichto mirror and respond to her infant’s emotionalneeds, the mother must be able to feel that sheherself is loved (Fraiberg, 1980). At thebeginning of the TIP group, DVD footage ofthe sessions indicate that some of theparticipants did not feel worthy of love andbelieved that their children were as likely, forexample, to want to go home with one of theinvestigators, as with them. The literaturesuggests that any positive change in this aspectof the mother-child relationship will have abeneficial influence on the child’s social andemotional development.The second sub-theme was an emphasison ‘being with’ the child. This was identifiedwhere participants pronounced delight insimply being with their children or whereparticipants reported a tendency to choose tospend time with the child purely because theirchild appeared to want to be with them. At thepre intervention phase of the study, controlgroup members were much more likely toevidence this theme in their discourse thanwere TIP group members (18 times comparedwith seven). However, at the post assessmentphase, the result was reversed, with 24instances of this theme being identified in theTIP group compared with 13 in the controlgroup. This result is consistent with the resultsfor the theme ‘emphasis on action’. In bothcases the tendency for mothers in the TIPgroup to prioritise their time in terms of theirown needs decreased substantially over theintervention time while for control groupmembers it did not. The TIP groupprogramme focuses on ‘tuning’ mothers in tothe needs of the child these findings maybe anindication of the effectiveness of theprogramme.The third sub-theme was characterisedby a harmonious and relaxed mother-infantrelationship. This sub-theme describes a senseof the mothers being calm and confident intheir role, and enjoying their relationship withtheir children. This sub theme was notidentified in any pre-intervention interviewswith TIP group participants but was evident inthe control group statements. By contrast,while the control group gave a similarfrequency of this theme post-intervention,identification of this theme in the TIP group atthe post-intervention assessment went fromzero to five of the eight. It may be thatparticipation in the TIP group increases theconfidence of group members to follow theirchild’s lead and trust their own strengths as amother, and that this leads to a reduction inperformance-anxiety and an increase inThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Tuned in parenting68enjoyment in their role as mother. In addition,some TIP participants demonstrated anincreased acceptance of themselves asindividuals, suggesting that they no longer felt(or felt less) inadequate as a person, andtherefore as the mother of their beloved child.One example of this follows:I suppose I’m not so obsessedabout everything being “right”and the way that you treat oneanother as being “right” but Ithink that generally I’m morerelaxed about who I am and I feellike I’ve learnt more about myselfand that I’m OK.It could be argued that when a mother isaccepting of herself as a person and a motherand, therefore, less preoccupied with her owninternal state of mind, she is more emotionallyavailable to her infant and his emotional needs.Theme 3. Interpretation of Child’s CuesIn this theme, mothers articulated howthey interpreted their children’s cues,particularly in response to questions such as‘how do you understand the times when youand your child do not get on well together?’and ‘what do you do when you are unsureabout what your child is wanting from you?’This theme was also evident in responses tounrelated questions. Mothers in both groupswere almost equally as likely to identifyphysical needs only, as the basis of theirchildren’s ambiguous cues (e.g., crying,whinging, crankiness) in the pre-interventionand post-intervention phases of the study. Oneexample of this theme follows:….I’ll run through my mind, I’llthink “what’s the time of day?Have I done his nappy? Could hebe thirsty, could he be hungry?”The standard things. Could he betired? But it is always around that.But he’s kind of like a realtextbook baby.The control group identified emotionalneeds as well as physical needs in the preinterventioninterviews more often than theTIP group participants did. Post intervention,the TIP group was twice as likely as the controlgroup to identify the emotional or inner worldof their child when discussing their child’sambiguous cues (increasing from 2 to 13 times).In this sub-theme, there was consistent evidencethat mothers gave first priority to physical needs(such as the child being hungry, tired or sick)but that equal emphasis was given to theirchild’s cues regarding their emotional needs(such as need for comfort, relationship andreassurance). In the post-intervention interviewof one TIP group member, this theme wasidentified as follows:Interviewer: How do you think yourchild is feeling when she is whingeyor cranky?Horrible, sometimes I don’t thinkshe knows what she wants so itdoesn’t matter what you try and putin front of her or give her it’s notgoing to help so I think she justneeds to know that I’m there if shewants to come and sit, cuddle, cryor whatever, so I just sort of try andsee if she’s showing me anythingthat she might need like a drink orwhatever or if she just needs me, Isuppose.The above example illustrates a maternalstate of mind that takes into consideration theinternal world of her child. This skill is crucialin providing an environment in which, at leastsome of the time, the infant’s emotional worldis understood and that understanding ismirrored by the mother, who providesopportunities for the infant to receive comfortand, importantly, learn to soothe herself orhimself. It also demonstrates a mother who isattuned to her infant’s emotional state and isavailable to provide comfort should the infantcue her that that is what he/she needs.Summary of Changes over TimeThere is support in the data for theefficacy of the TIP group in increasing thesensitive-responsiveness of the interventionThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Tuned in parenting69group. TIP group participants in the preinterventionassessment were substantiallymore likely to describe their mother-childrelationship in terms of ‘relationshipstrain’(85%), with an in tune relationshiprarely described (15%), than were controlgroup participants who evidenced the themes‘relationship strain’ (55%) and ‘in-tunerelationship’ (45%) to a more equal degree.These different baseline levels recorded by thetwo groups of mothers in how they spoke oftheir relationships with their infants, suggeststhat for a sub group of mothers, the role ofmother and the mother-infant relationship itselfgenerates a substantially higher degree ofstress and anxiety than that experienced byother mothers. In the post-interventioninterviews the TIP group participants weretwice as likely to describe an ‘in-tune’relationship (32%) as they were to talk about‘relationship strain’ (67%). Importantly, thisgroup also substantially decreased in theirclaims to feel guilty or inadequate as a mother,and in terms of their tendency to articulatetheir mother-child relationship in terms ofroutines and expert rules and advice. Instead,they were more likely to report feeling relaxedin the role of mother and to delight in theirinfants, without reference to their behaviourand accomplishments. In one mother’s postinterventioninterview, reference was made tothe way in which she tended to respond to herinfant before participating in the TIPprogramme:(I would think) “Oh great, she’shappy, I can go and do thewashing, she’s quiet and whateverand she’s not making a noise sogood I can get on with this orquickly make that phone call or….”whereas now other things don’tseem so important, I’m happy tospend the time with K and interactwith her, much better.This is an encouraging result because itsuggests that participation in the TIP groupprogram is effective in improving the relationalenvironment between mother and infant,thereby improving the availability of mothersto be attuned to their infants. In a similar vein,the TIP group participants were more thantwice as likely as the control group to take intoconsideration the emotional experience of theirinfant post intervention. Once again, there weredifferent baseline levels, however, for thecontrol group this tendency remained relativelyunchanged over time, whilst there wasdramatic improvement in the interventiongroup. Post-intervention TIP participants alsodemonstrated improved awareness of infantcues indicating need for emotional support,which represented a change from 25% of themothers in the pre interview to 75% in thepost-intervention interview. This resultindicates that there was a trend towards anincrease in maternal sensitive attunement toinfant cues for emotional soothing or comfortand provides an initial indication that the TIPgroup programme was effective at increasingmothers’ awareness of the emotionalexperience of their infants.Organisational Outcomes from theCollaborationThe project brought together participantswith a range of skills and knowledge, fromwhich to contribute to thinking about aParenting Skills Development Framework andto forge a common way of thinking aboutparent-child relationships. Three focus groupsessions held after training in the TIPprogramme allowed staff to discuss theirexperiences of the collaboration. Themesidentified from analysis of focus groupstranscripts included improved interdisciplinarycommunications, confidence in application ofnew knowledge to practice, practical changes inthe organisation, and new energy for infantmental health promotion and research. Briefexamples to support the latter claim follow.Interdisciplinary CommunicationOne nurse at managerial level described,“We have moved from being a multidisciplinaryteam to an interdisciplinary team”, whileThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Tuned in parenting70another stated, “This increased knowledge ofattachment issues and the importance ofreflective thinking has benefited not just thestaff involved in the programme but raisedawareness and interest across theorganisation.”Confidence in the Application of NewKnowledge to PracticeFor the agency this change is bestevidenced by the development of a new sleepcurriculum in the agency that incorporatesattachment theories, early brain developmentand has the baby/child foremost in mind whendetermining strategies. One staff member citeda greater awareness of, “Seizing the momentwhen there is some positive interactionhappening and using this as an opportunity totalk about the importance of connecting, how itfeels and to encourage continuing to tune in.”Another nurse says “I use this awareness allthe time now sometimes I will just find myselfthinking’ ‘how would we reflect that back in aTIP group?’”.Practical Changes in the OrganisationIn addition to the new sleep curriculum,there have been some very tangible outcomesfrom the collaboration. These include thecreation of a position of counselling/clinicalpsychologist for the first time in the 110 yearhistory of the agency; the enrolment of onesenior nurse in management into a doctoralresearch programme to further the researchculture established; the establishment of anactive research committee in the agencyinvolving university personnel from fourdifferent disciplines.New Energy for Infant Mental HealthPromotion and ResearchThe project resulted in raised awarenessof the mental health issues faced by parentsand young children. Increased awareness wasevident by the large number of staff whoattended open TIP based training sessions andin the increase in referrals to TIP 2. Parentswho participated in the intervention groupsalso reported taking their growing awarenessof infant mental health issues back to theirlocal communities. A number of agency staffalso joined the local branch of the Infant MentalHealth Association.Promotion of Research in the Field of InfantMental HealthA further outcome of this joint venturehas been the growth in awareness of theresources that are required for infant mentalhealth intervention programmes to be evaluatedin community organisations. These includestaffing issues, time allocation, technicalsupport and child care issues. A nurse atmanagerial level summarised the collaborativeprocess in this way:We believe, quite strongly, incapturing positive moments andbuilding on what is working well.This has been a wonderful journeyand we have learnt so much fromthis collaborative partnership.Identifying how we can in oureveryday work, promote theconcepts of ‘being a tuned-inparent’. Our way of working withclients is building on the strengthsthat parents bring to therelationship with the child.Therefore looking for opportunitieswhere there is positive interactionis important. We discovered if thereis ‘passion’ and a desire toincorporate new knowledge intopractice, then with persistenceways can be found to accomplishthis. It is an ongoing process.ConclusionsThis paper has reported on a communitydevelopment programme where the goal was tofind a way to understand, develop and deliver aprogramme for young families whererelationship concerns between parents and theirchildren were reported or evidenced. Theprogramme was in keeping with a research andpractice framework embraced by theconsortium of agencies to which Ngalabelonged. A collaborative partnership wasdeveloped between a university and the earlyThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Tuned in parenting71parenting organisation to choose a suitableprogramme to deliver the set objectives, and toplan an organisation wide shift of focus todeliver the programme. An innovative parent/child intervention methodology based on anAttachment Theory framework, was chosen asthe basis for the new programme.The collaborative team adapted the TIPintervention to meet the needs of the agencyand worked out a detailed plan oforganisational change within this unit ofservice delivery. This involved: Introducingthe shift in focus to as many staff as possiblewithin the agency; more fully informing a selfselected group of interested personnel;choosing from this group a team of staff fortraining in the various tasks within theprogramme; and establishment of a frameworkfor the evaluation of the performance of theprogramme in meeting the goals of the agency.When these parameters of the programme werein place two intervention groups with controlgroups were run through the determinedprocedures.Qualitative data from semi-structuredinterviews with the participants has beenshown to be promising but is not definitive.The parents who participated in theintervention programmes appeared to becomeaware of the importance of sensitiveattunement to infant and child cues forproximity, attention and comfort and engagedin reflection on their own styles of parenting.The collaborative group considers that perhapsa better measure of outcome might be providedby the semi-structured Parental DevelopmentInterview (Slade, 1999), which yields anestimate of the reflective capacity of themother and can track changes in this function.Parallel processes between agencies, within theagency, between nurses and their clients, andbetween parents and their babies facilitatedgenuine change on many levels. Innovativetheory and practice from this project has nowbecome part of the service delivery for theagency.ReferencesAinsworth, M. D. S., Bell, S. M., & Stayton, D.F. (1974). Infant-mother attachment andsocial development: Socialization as aproduct of reciprocal responsiveness tosignals. In M. P. Richards (Ed.), Theintegration of a child into a social world(pp. 99-135). London: Cambridge Press.Ainsworth, M. D. S., & Wittig, B. A. (1969).Attachment and exploratory behaviour ofone-year-olds in a strange situation. In B. M.Foss (Ed.), Determinants of infantbehaviour 1V (pp. 113-136). London:Methuen.Ainsworth, M. S., Blehar, M. C., Waters, E., &Wall, S. (1978). Patterns of attachment: Apsychological study of the strange situation.Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Allen, J. G., Fonagy, P., & Bateman, A. W.(2008). Mentalising in clinical practice.Washington DC: American PsychiatricPublishing.Atkinson, L., Goldberg, S., Raval, V., Pederson,D., Benoit, D., Moran, G., et al. (2005). Onthe relation between maternal state of mindand sensitivity in the prediction of infantattachment security. DevelopmentalPsychology, 41(1), 42-53.Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., van Ijzendoorn,M. H., & Juffer, F. (2003). Less is more:Meta-analyses of sensitivity and attachmentinterventions in early childhood.Psychological Bulletin, 129, 202-219.Berlin, L., Ziv, Y., Amaya-Jackson, L., &Greenberg, M. (Eds.). (2005). Enhancingearly attachments. New York. GuilfordPress.Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment (Vol. 1).London: Random House.Bowlby, J. (1973). Separation: Anger andanxiety (Vol. 2). London: Random House.Bowlby, J. (1980). Loss: Sadness anddepression (Vol. 3). London: RandomHouse.Bowlby, J. (1998). A secure base: Clinicalapplications of attachment theory. London:Routledge.The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Tuned in parenting72Cooper, G., Hoffman, K., Powell, B., &Marvin, R. (2005). The Circle of SecurityIntervention: Differential diagnosis anddifferential treatment. In L. J. Berlin, Y.Aviv, L. Amaya-Jackson & M. T.Greenberg (Eds.), Enhancing earlyattachments: Theory, research,intervention, and policy (pp. 127-151).London: Guilford Press.Farrell-Erickson, M., Endersbe, J., & Simon, J.(1999). Seeing is believing: Videotapingfamilies and using guided self observationto build on parenting strengths. Minnesota:University of Minnesota.Juffer, F., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., &van Ijzendoorn, M. H. (Eds.). (2008).Promoting Positive Parenting: Anattachment based intervention. New York:Lawrence Erlbaum.Lecrubier, Y., Sheehan, D., Hergueta, T., &Weiller, E. (1998). The mini internationalneuropsychiatric interview. EuropeanPsychiatry, 13(Supplement 4), 198s.Main, M., Kaplan, N., & Cassidy, J. (1985).Security in infancy, childhood, andadulthood: A move to the level ofrepresentation. Monographs of the Societyfor Research in Child Development, 50(1-2), 66-104.Mantymaa, M., Puura, K., Luoma, I., Salmelin,R. K., & Tamminen, T. (2004). Earlymother-infant interaction, parental mentalhealth and symptoms of behavioral andemotional problems in toddlers. InfantBehavior and Development, 27(2), 134-149.Marvin, R., Cooper, G., Hoffman, K., &Powell, B. (2002). The Circle of Securityproject: Attachment-based interventionwith caregiver-pre-school child dyads.Attachment and Human Development, 4(1),107-124.McDonough, S. C. (2005). InteractionGuidance: Promoting and nurturing thecaregiving relationship. In A. J. Sameroff,S. C. McDonough & K. L. Rosenblum(Eds.), Treating parent-infant relationshipproblems. New York: The Guilford Press.Murray, L., Cooper, P. J., Wilson, A., &Romaniuk, H. (2003). Controlled trial of theshort- and long-term effect of psychologicaltreatment of post-partum depression. 2.Impact on the mother-child relationship andchild outcome. British Journal ofPsychiatry, 182(5), 420-427.Patton, M. Q. (2001). Qualitative evaluationand research methods (3rd ed.). NewburyPark, CA: Sage.Ringer, T. M. (2002). Group action: Thedynamics of groups in therapeutic,educational and corporate settings.London: Jessica Kingsley.Sameroff, A. J., Mc Donough, S. C., &Rosenblum, K. L. (Eds.). (2005). Treatingparent-infant relationship problems. NewYork: The Guilford Press.Schore, A. N. (2003). Affect regulation and therepair of the self. New York: Norton.Sheehan, D. V., Lecrubier, Y., Sheehan, K.,Amorim, P., Janavs, J., Weiller, E., et al.(1997). The Mini-InternationalNeuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I): Thedevelopment and validation of a structureddiagnostic psychiatric interview for DSM-IV and ICD-10. Journal of ClinicalPsychiatry, 59(Suppl 20), 22-33.Slade, A., Sadler, L., & Mayes, L. (2005).Minding the baby: Enhancing parentalreflective functioning in a nursing/mentalhealth home visiting programme. In L.Berlin, Y. Ziv, L. Amaya-Jackson & M.Greenberg (Eds.), Enhancing EarlyAttachments. New York: Guilford Press.Tweddle Child & Family Health Service.(2006). C-Frame: Connect, collaborate,change. [Compact Disk]. Victoria,Australia: authorStern, D. N. (2002). The first relationship:Infant and mother. Cambridge, MA:Harvard University Press.van Ijzendoorn, M. H., & Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J. (1997). Intergenerationaltransmission of attachment: A move to thecontextual level. In L. Atkinson & K. J.The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Tuned in parenting73Zucker, (Eds.), Attachment andpsychopathology (pp. 135-170). Place:Publisher.Wang, C. C., Yi, W. K., Tao, Z. W., &Carovano, K. (1998). Photovoice as aparticipatory health promotion strategy.Health Promotion International, 13(1), 75-86.Whitaker, D. S. (2001). Using groups to helppeople (2nd ed.). Place: Brunner-Routledge.Yalom, I. (1995). The theory and practice ofgroup psychotherapy (4th ed.). New York:Basic Books.AcknowledgmentsThe authors would like to acknowledge theWA Combined Universities Centre forResearch for Women (WACRW) for the StatePerinatal Reference Group for part funding ofthis project.Address correspondence toDr L PriddisC/- Department of PsychologySchool of Health SciencesCurtin University of TechnologyGPO Box U1987Perth 6845email: l.priddis@curtin.edu.auThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


74Relationships in Remote Communities: Implications for Living inRemote AustraliaBernard GuerinUniversity of South AustraliaPauline GuerinFlinders University of South AustraliaThere are issues with living in remote regions of Australia that arise from thedifferent forms of social relationships. In this paper we outline three forms ofrelationships that are useful in teasing out issues when living in remote regions. Wethen consider several ways that relationship issues might arise in remotecommunities and some solutions through examining the interactions of Aboriginaland Torres Strait Islander peoples, settlers and service providers. We also show howa graphic drawing of relationships from the perspective of remote communities canbe utilised to help communities to plan their own solutions.Australia has between one and twothousand settlements in its desert regions, fromvery small outstations of a few people up to afew major centres such as Alice Springs(Newman et al., 2008). There are many socialproperties of living in remote 1 regions that donot depend upon the personal characteristics ofthe people involved but rather, upon thesituation, and that are neither good nor bad inthemselves but which can be used strategicallyfor varied ends (Cocklin & Dibden, 2005;Folds, 2001; Foster, Mitchell, Ulrik &Williams, 2005; Moisseff, 1999; Oeser &Emery, 1954; Walsh & Mitchell, 2002; Young& Fisk, 1982).In this paper we discuss several waysthat living in remote Australian communities isaffected by the different forms of socialrelationships commonly experienced,especially from the residents’ reliance onremote services. We outline several ways thatvarious groups around the world have tried toovercome the properties they find undesirable.The main question is how to best deal withthese changes and tensions in relationships.What are Relationships?In the remote regions of Australia thereare a variety of communities, and they areorganised in different ways. Relationships inan Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 2context are different to relationships in mostnon-indigenous contexts, despite the attemptsby successive governments to assimilateAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoplesto non-indigenous ways. Settlers in remoteregions also brought specific ways to interact,as have governments and government serviceproviders. However, when discussingrelationship issues between groups or peoplein remote Australia, such as between settlersand Aboriginal people, problems are oftendelegated to or ‘explained’ as arising fromessential differences between the groups ofpeople, or from ‘traditional ways’ (Guerin &Guerin, 2007). In this paper, however, wewill show how we can make this a little moreconcrete and less essentialistic by suggestingthree forms of relationships that help teaseout relationships and their issues in remoteregions (Guerin, 2004). These are not meantto be firm or fast categories and manyexceptions and variations occur, but aremerely meant to inspire thinking in terms ofdiversity of relationships while still providingsomething concrete that avoids essentialisms.People enter into relationships whenthey exchange goods, attend events, bolsterreputation or provide opportunities, throughinteractions or structural events. This broadinterdisciplinary idea covers many sorts ofrelationship interactions and preventsthinking about relationships merely in termsof liking or attraction as the sole source ofrelationships, because not all functionalThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Remote communities75relationships centre on liking or attraction(Guerin, 2004).Table 1 presents a brief summary of theapproach showing seven social properties ofthe three forms of relationships, drawn fromliterature across all the disciplines of socialsciences. These are not meant to be mutuallyexclusive nor rigid, but a guide to socialproperties of some typical clusters. There is no‘best’ form of relationship because there aregood and bad features of them all, and this alsodepends upon people’s reputation inTable 1.Three Types of Social Relationships and their Main Social Properties (adapted from Guerin, 2005)Strangers:Form of reciprocity: Exchange with a society of strangers is done via moneyWhat you can get done is typically by paying someone and can be done at a distance, and in principle: there areno other social relationships involved; there are no other social obligations; they do not usually impact on otherareas of lifePersonal influence depends upon having economic (resource) status, often contextualised as a show ofcommoditiesMonitoring: Will often not see them again, and others will not see each otherAccountability is mainly through public rule following and policing, institutionalisedAvoidance and escape of consequences is easy especially if wealthy, and people can easily withdraw from socialrelationships. Secrecy and lying therefore are also easy.Conformity & norms: Will usually be towards what is publicly available and especially on media and throughgovernment and high status citizensFriends and family social networks:Form of reciprocity: specific supports that are returned (emotional, social, material, etc.)What you can get done depends upon your networks and the reciprocity you provide. The people are usuallyrelevant in other arenas of lifePersonal influence will depend upon status within networksMonitoring: Will see some of the people regularly, but not others. The others will not all see each other regularly,except if familyAccountability through public rules and policing, and through network members’ contactsAvoidance and escape of consequences is only easy if constantly changing networks or if high status withinnetworks, or there are coalitions within networks (cliques).Conformity & norms: Usually directed towards what best friends or closest family perceive is importantKin-Based groups:Form of reciprocity: taken for granted obligationsWhat you can get done depends upon the family social relationships. The same people will be relevant in mostarenas of lifePersonal influence will be important and depend upon status in the family and community networks. Time istherefore spent talking rather than rule following.Monitoring: Will see most of the people regularly, and others will see each other regularlyAccountability is through complex family systems with historical context frequently utilisedAvoidance and escape of consequences is difficult and is limited mostly to secrecy and language strategies, orforming coalitionsConformity & norms: Usually directed towards what the community sees as important and often reflected inhistorical precedence or ritual practicesThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Remote communities76relationships. Moreover, the majority of peoplehave different types of relationships withdifferent people. For example, many people inwestern systems have many daily interactionswith strangers while maintaining a network ofclose family ties and both close friends andweak ties, but they do not have experience inthe relationships making up large, kin-basedcommunities.Living in a western society, the majorityof relationships are with strangers (forexample, at work, in education, in shops), andthese relationship interactions are arguably themost frequent, even if not the most satisfying.These are generally handled politely throughinteraction rituals and, even though the personsinvolved are strangers, these relationships arenot usually cold, hard or impolite and caneasily develop into friendships depending onthe context (Goffman, 1967). The mainexchanges with strangers are conductedthrough money, in that people must pay othersto paint the house, teach children, fix cars, etc.,and in that people do things for others becausethey are given money, either directly orindirectly (Simmel, 1978/1907). One keyproperty of western stranger relationships isthat there are no obligations to those in therelationship once the exchange or service hasbeen paid for – there is no obligation tocontinue the relationship although theserelationships can sometimes develop intoacquaintances or more.Many people in western societies,however, also have a small group of closefriends and immediate family with whom theyspend a lot of ‘quality’ time, even if this isonly on weekends or during holidays. Suchrelationships also work through socialnetworks that can link people to acquaintances,partial strangers or ‘weak ties’ who are notknown but can be approached through familyor friends for better exchanges (Granovetter,1982).Finally, some people live within largercommunities of extended family or kin-basedcommunities in which most contacts andexchanges will be with someone who is relatedby birth or fictive kinship. In this type ofrelationship almost all properties ofrelationships and exchanges are with peoplewho are related, and hence, affect almost allsocial behaviour. For example, greatermonitoring is common due to the greaterinteraction of people in the network and resultsin less anonymity. This is not necessarilyaversive, however, as it would be if it happenedwithin stranger relationships. Exchanges in kinbasedcommunities are typically reciprocatedwith obligations for other goods, events,reputation or opportunities, and being offeredmoney can be seen as rude or condescending(as it can also be for close family and friends).Kin-based groups are varied but include manyreligious communities such as the ExclusiveBrethren that are not based on an ethnic orracial group.Table 1 shows seven of the key socialfactors in relationships, although there is notspace here to elaborate on these. The point isthat the same interactions can occur but withvery different social properties maintaining therelationship, and moreover, people typicallyimmersed in one form of relationship can find itdifficult to understand how relationshipsfunction under another set of social properties.In the present case, this is common betweenthose with frequent relationships with strangers(even if formally friendly) and those immersedin the social properties of kin-basedcommunities. Similarly, people who function inone set of social properties may also havecertain expectations about how others shouldact, their motivations, their reciprocity, andwhat might be considered satisfactory about aninteraction.Common Relationship Issues in RemoteAustraliaThe reason the different types ofrelationships become important for the presentdiscussion is that in colonial countries such asAustralia, there are typical interactions acrossthese types of relationships that have producedvery similar results to other colonised countriesThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Remote communities77(Guerin, 2004, chapter 6; Moody, 1998). ManyIndigenous peoples, refugees, migrants,peoples of slave background, and peoples fromdeveloping countries form very strong kinbasedcommunities to this day but come intoregular contact with people who typically livewithin a set of stranger relationships alongsidea small number of close friends and immediatefamily. There are also settlers and descendentsof settlers in remote areas who have come fromstranger relations but have had to depend onothers to a larger extent than is necessary inurban centres. The mix of these three groupsproduces many of the issues we now discuss.Aboriginal and Torres Strait IslanderCommunitiesIn the case of Aboriginal and TorresStrait Islander peoples, belonging to kin-basedcommunities and obligations is one of the mostfrequently cited properties that sets them apartfrom other Australians (e.g., Poirior, 2005). Tounderstand the minutia of behaviour andbehaviour patterns, an understanding is neededof how people in kin-based communitiesfunction and how the whole system workstogether. Kin-based communities should not beconstrued as perfect or conflict free, as systemsmodels often portray (Guerin & Guerin, 2007),but the whole system functions differentlyfrom a stranger society built on monetaryexchanges with strangers (which can also becomplex, intricate, satisfying, conflictual,subtle, etc.).Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islandercommunities have had strong kin-basedrelationships in which people rely on oneanother and have long-lasting and seriousobligations to others. A large part of whatpeople in these groups accomplish is throughfamily obligations as a ‘way of life’, and theseobligations are taken for granted. For example,if children need to be looked after there willoften be a family member who can do this (butperhaps with some grumbling), instead ofpaying someone for baby-sitting. The ties(exchanges) are very strong, even whenconflictual, so phenomena such as avoidancerelationships occur in which, because of thestructure of family relationships, certainpeople cannot be in the same room or sit withone another (e.g., Poirior, 2005). Some smallAboriginal and Torres Strait Islandersettlements are even physically structured sothat different family groupings live apartfrom one another.In terms of the distances of remotecommunities, many people in theserelationships report finding it aversive to beaway from one another for extended periods,which can inhibit travelling to cities foremployment, education or medical treatment.However, this does not mean that people donot want to leave the community. Indeed,much work has reported the high geographicmobility of Aboriginal people in remotecommunities (Biddle & Hunter, 2005).Resistance to moving away from remotecommunities might therefore relate to anaversion to being surrounded by strangers, orpeople who treat you as strangers, rather thanfrom being away from kin per se – that is,from relationship issues of another nature.People living in urban areas often have morecontact with strangers and are forced to dealwith strangers on a regular basis. Althoughpeople in remote Australia certainly haveexperience in dealing with strangers, they areperhaps still used to forming stronger andmore trusting relationships before allowingstrangers to influence them. This is whybuilding relationships is so important forresearchers and service providers in remoteregions, since the manner of interacting isjust as important as how people speak andbehave (Zimmermann, Davidson, Cacciattolo& Mahon, 2007). Just being paid to do somework for Aboriginal and Torres StraitIslander people in remote communities doesnot guarantee that a relationship of any othersort will develop, and the way in whichwesterners can switch relationships andobligations on and off in such a controlledmanner with strangers can be confusing forsomeone from a kin-based community.The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Remote communities78OutstationsChurch andsporting eventsSpecialised andcheaper shoppingHospitalisedfamilyFamily visitsCeremonialgatheringsMain governmentofficesFamily in educationPastoraland miningFamily withcity jobsIn the localeMajor urbancentreResidentcommunitymembersResidentvisitors 6-12monthsBrief visitors;from a fewhours up to aweek or twoShort-term visitors1-6 monthsLocalorganisations &committeesShopping andsporting eventsGPs and somemedical careThe settlementNearest townSomegovernmentSomeemploymentFigure 1. Typical groups needing to maintain relationships in remote Australia (based onextensive discussions with community members).To give a feel for the different groupswith which Aboriginal and Torres StraitIslander peoples in a remote communityengage, we have tried to draw a ‘communityplan’ from talking with many groups involvedin one remote community in Central Australia.While there are several ways to drawcommunity profiles (e. g., Walsh & Mitchell,2002), none focuses sufficiently on therelationships involved. For confidentiality wewill not provide details of the communityinvolved, but this material was compiled overseveral trips to the community over two years,during which we talked with communitymembers as well as service providers. In anyevent, it is not meant as definitive orrepresentative, but is given here as illustrative.Figure 1 shows that there are severallayers of contact that must be maintained forsustainable living in remote regions, all ofThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Remote communities79which for urban dwellers can be accessedrelatively closely without much travel. Manyof these contacts are at a great distance, but thepoint here is that there are many types ofrelationships that must broached, and in manycases they are infrequent so little can be doneto sustain relationships if that is what you areexpecting (from living in a kin-basedcommunity). Dealing with all these strangersand their ways of interacting on rare trips mustalso make travel uninviting. The high mobility,therefore, is more about travelling to areas inthe locale where there are family members, orto urban areas to visit families (Biddle &Hunter, 2005).Similar points arise from Figure 1 whensending family to large urban centres foremployment or education. Maintainingrelationships in those cases is not just aboutmaintaining the family connections andexchanges at a distance, but also having to dealwith a large number of stranger relationshipsby necessity. In the case of secondary andtertiary education this often means some yearsaway from the community and family.Health is also complicated in this regardbecause although most small settlements havesome form of local health services, albeitusually with few facilities, these often employmany outside people who are not local, do nothave family in the community, do not staylong, and are working under conditions of poorresourcing. Even with excellent, dedicated andcaring professionals, working in thesesituations is difficult at best and at the worst isnot sustainable. Moreover, for chronic orserious health matters, moving to a nearbytown or major urban hospital is often required,for either short visits or permanently(Wakerman et al., 2005). For example, mostsmall settlements do not have dialysismachines and so those needing such equipmenton a regular basis have to move to an urbancentre or big town since the small health unitscannot acquire or maintain one. This causesmuch distress for families (Devitt &McMasters, 1998a, 1998b).Service Providers in Remote CommunitiesRemote Australia also has a large band ofservice providers who are occasionally locallyraised but much more likely to move from citiesto remote Australia on employment contracts(Haslam McKenzie, 2007). Those who arebrought in typically have family ties elsewhere,so a person from Sydney might take a positionin Alice Springs for a short time. This shows aninteresting contrast to Aboriginal and TorresStrait Islander people who often must leavetheir home for employment or education withsome resistance, and it shows the strongemployment advantage of ‘westerners’ in suchsituations: that the family ties are often not sostrong that they need to be in constant contact.In many western families members can be outof contact for some years with only intermittentinteraction (by phone, for example, or justvisiting once a year at Christmas) and stillmaintain the family relationship. This propertyis as useful today for mobile employment as itwas for colonists to settle in remote regions.Some government officials go to remotecommunities for very short terms, often only aday or two (see Figure 1), and then return toclose family and friends, but the maingovernment offices that have control overdesert settlements are typically in remote urbancentres rather than in the bush. In some cases, anearby town has branch offices of governmentbut these are often small and do not include allservices or the responsibility to act orimplement changes. The main medical andeducation centres are likewise in remote urbancentres and health inequities reflect theassociated problems (e.g., Underhill, Goldstein& Grogan 2006). Most remote settlements havesome health facilities relatively nearby andperhaps schooling up to primary level, but thefact is that for most people in remotecommunities, serious or chronic medicalproblems and obtaining an education requiresmoving out of the settlement.Most service providers and governmentofficials who go to remote communities havebeen raised within western relationshipsThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Remote communities80(usually in cities) and most start off with littleor no understanding of kin-based communities,how they function, and the obligationsassumed even when a stranger relationship isbroached (Dillon & Westbury, 2007). Whilethis is advantageous in so far as it wasmentioned above (i.e., that this means they cantravel to remote areas for extended periodswithout feeling too much distress from beingaway from their own families), it does meanthat problems are likely to accrue because theyusually do not understand how relationships inremote regions are maintained and function.Despite being able to stay away fromfamily longer than for those immersed in kinbasedcommunities, service providers also tendnot to stay for extended periods (years ordecades) so it is common to have highturnover. This is very problematic for mostremote communities around the world. Thefrequent requirement to induct and formrelationships with new service providers isboth stressful and time consuming. Even in thewestern context, high staff turnover is seen asproblematic, though the structures oftenaccommodate such turnover. The importanceof developing relationships in remotecommunities challenges the ease ofsubstituting staff.Service providers often deal with issuesthat require some specialised knowledge andhistory not often included in training programs,and this cannot be taught overnight when oneset of service providers is substituted for theprevious ones. Learning these things is usuallyleft up to the initiative of the new worker, orworse, considered unimportant. Whereas thoseliving in a city can substitute one greengrocerstore for another without much of a problem,high turnover of service providers in remotecommunities can cause multiple relationshipdisruptions and much frustration and stress tothose living there because of the forms ofsocial relationship in addition to any servicedelivery issues.Settlers in Remote RegionsThe other main group in remote Australia,who account for much space even if numbersare smaller, are the settlers, pastoralists, anddescendents of settlers. Settlers form aninteresting mix of the types of relationshipscharacterised in Table 1. Unlike serviceproviders, settlers do not have close family indistant places since after many years in one spotthey usually have most family close by forsupport. This also means, however, that theymust rely on those around them more than thetransitory service providers in the same area,and this changes the relationships settlers makeand how those relationships are sustained.Settlers might form closer ties with each othereven though not kin-based, but the relationshipsmight not be utilised or realised except inemergency situations.Some of these suggestions were outlinedin comments about the early pastoralists of thefar North of Western Australia, and theirrelationships with the local Aboriginal workers(such as the Peet brothers below). Howpastoralists handled and developed relationshipsdepended on the potential reliance ordependence they might have:Their husbands who were out andabout with the workers did notseem to be gripped by the need tokeep themselves separate and, withreal work to do, did not suffer inthe same way. These men, like Mr.Campbell, were even known toinvite the lowly mail driversindoors for a cup of tea when theycalled each week. The Peetbrothers, grateful for anyconsideration shown to them ontheir long hot run, knew wheneversuch an invitation was issued onsuch stations that the missus wasaway. It would never happenotherwise… They also noticed thechange in attitude as soon as theyentered the Gascoyne area furthernorth. There the stations were evenmore remote and consequentlyThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Remote communities81more mutually dependent. Noneof the whites could afford toconsider themselves better thanthe next: after all, no-one knewjust when they would require help,or from whom. Up there the maildrivers were treated like one of thefamily… (Dingo, 1998, p.151)Again we see that distance relates torelationships, that as one became more andmore remote, relationships needed to changefor potential help, but our point is that this nolonger applies to the service providers whoonly come for short stays. If they require helpthey will typically get it from their family ororganisation back in the urban centres.Solutions to Issues in Remote RelationshipsRelationship problems are not the only orbiggest problems for small settlements inremote regions. Lack of employment (Fuller,Caldicott, Cairncross, & Wilde, 2007) and costof transport are two other major problems thatneed new solutions, for example, as doeshealth servicing (Panagiotopoulos, Rozmus,Gagnon, & Macnab, 2007; Underhill et al.,2006; Wakerman et al., 2005). However,underlying the lack of solutions to these otherproblems, as we have tried to show, are theproblems of maintaining relationships bothacross far distances and also across thedifferent types of relationships that typicallyexist in remote Australia. We explore somepossibilities to the relationships issues raisedabove, rather than attempting to providesolutions to all problems of living in remoteAustralia.Although many solutions to relationshipissues have been attempted over many years,there are probably possibilities that have neverbeen documented, which means that otherscannot take advantage of them. Luckily,solutions to similar problems around the worldhave been documented and might be adaptedthese to remote solutions (e. g., Nikora,Guerin, Rua & Te Awekotuku, 2004; Nikora,Rua, Te Awekotuku, Guerin & McCaughey,2007; Panagiotopoulos et al., 2007; Teddy,Nikora & Guerin, 2005).Overall, there are two main relationshipissues that require solutions. First, explicitstrategies to bridge the different types ofrelationships need to be developed. Currently,for example, the strategy is for people who willbe working in these new relationship scenariosto attend ‘cultural awareness’, ‘culturalcompetence’ or ‘cultural safety’ programs(Aboriginal Resource and DevelopmentServices, 1994; Bourke, Bourke & Edwards,1994; Congress for Aboriginal & Torres StraitIslander Nurses, 2002; Hill & Augoustinos,2001; Kiselica, Maben & Locke, 1999;Lindsley, 1998; Partington, 1995; Reid &Holland, 1996; Taylor & Wright, 2003). Whilethese programs can provide people with someknowledge, understanding, and sometimesskills for working ‘cross culturally’, they do notexplore the functionality of different types ofrelationships and the contexts of thoserelationships.More practically, people in kin-basedcommunities must also be prepared to workwith the relationship functions of others, andvice versa. People from remote kin-basedcommunities moving into urban centres mightalso find it useful to prepare for the ways ofaction required to get things done (Table 1),otherwise there might be a heavy reliance onthe few kin-folk who may already be livingthere. Likewise, people accustomed to workingamongst strangers and moving to kin-basedcommunities might find it useful to prepare forthe ways of action required to get things done,or else there might be a reliance on others whoare very similar to themselves, thereby creatingsocial divisions within these communities.There is one interesting proviso to this‘mutual appreciation’ stance: entering intowestern relationships is by their very natureeasier than entering into a kin-basedrelationship, providing one has some form ofself-sustaining income. As long as a person hasmoney, he or she can enter into strangerrelationships since there are few other expectedThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Remote communities82obligations or necessary social ties (see Table1). Entering into kin-based communities, onthe other hand, sometimes cannot happen at allexcept through birth (which people typicallydo not have control over), although someintermediary forms of affiliated or fictive“kinship” are often granted based on outsiders’trust and commitment to the community. Butfor those entering into relationships withpeople from kin-based communities, therelationship will never be the same as formembers of the kin networks. Relationshipscan still be satisfying, fun, long-lasting andproductive, but they will not be the same as forfamily. This point is one strong argument forhaving local people determine solutions sincethey are in the best position to implement anychanges. Some of the problems will beresolved if local people are employed as theservice providers, etc., but this in turn willmost often require further education or trainingwhich might need a long visit to an urbancentre.The second main point for developingsolutions is about spanning the remoteness ofdistance rather than relationship. For the casesshown in Figure 1, in which people from kinbasedcommunities need to visit or move totowns or cities, relationships need to beexplicitly handled. Some groups around theworld in similar situations form associations orkin-based groups within the cities to supporteach other (Nikora et al., 2004; Walker, 1975).A nice variation on this is the New ZealandTühoe community who live in a nearby townand organise sports groups and host an annualsports event on the homelands that everyoneneed to attend (Nikora et al., 2004). Thisinsures that family all visit the homelands atleast for the sports events once a year, althoughhaving to get away from work or educationcommitments once a year still causes somedisruption in life. (However, it must be kept inmind that the “long distances” involved are notlong by Australian remote standards.)Another common strategy is for peoplemoving to a town or city to stay with family asboarders for the duration of their visit (Nikoraet al., 2004; Nikora et al., 2007). This can putpressure on families but these pressuresprobably have easier solutions, such asaffordable houses that are larger. Innovativeuses of telecommunication can also alleviatesome of the stress of living away from kin.Most migrating groups now stay in contact withkin they have left behind through phone,internet or video links (e. g., Teddy et al.,2005), and the use of videoconferencing stillholds much promise for unique solutions tothese problems although repeated waves ofenthusiasm since the 1960s has not led to muchprogress in ordinary life.Rather than adapting to living away, someservices can be re-designed to come nearer orinto settlements. Many of these solutions havebeen tried and some tested. First, utilising localpopulations as a workforce is a sensible solutionalthough there are also difficulties in doing this.For example, local people in remotecommunities may not have had the access toeducation and training needed to take over anyjobs provided. But, overall, these issues can beaddressed with long-term planning to improvechildren’s access to education and by thinking10 or 20 years into the future.Following this point, too often it isthought that education can only take place incentralised areas. However, much tertiaryeducation has now been re-designed intointensive teaching blocks – even universitycourses that have traditionally been taught as aseries of lectures spanning two or three months.This means first that visits to cities can be doneas intensive visits rather than as a three-yearstay to obtain a bachelors degree or diploma,and secondly, it means that intensive coursescan potentially be brought to the remote regionsmore easily than a long series of lectures. Someteaching institutions are already doing this, itshould be noted, but much more remains to bedone. There is also an increasing availability ofonline and distance education programs.Medical care and hospitals have otherconcerns, and remote treatments are less likelyThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Remote communities83to happen, although some solutions areexamples in the Pacific and New Zealand inpossible (Congress for Aboriginal & Torres which the focus has changed so that homelandsStrait Islander Nurses, 2002; Panagiotopoulos are seen as the origin or spiritual hub of theet al., 2007; Underhill et al., 2006; Wakerman community (for example, in Māori this is calledet al., 2005). Other than the governmentthe iwi takiwā, or tribal region) but the majoritybuying the same equipment for all smallof community members live outside of thatsettlements and providing the professionals to (Guerin, Nikora & Rua, 2006).run it, people in remote communities withThis change, however, requires a changechronic conditions needing specialised care in social organisation to ensure that the sense ofwill still need to travel to major towns and community (i.e., the sum of kin-basedcities. This means that solutions mentioned relationships) does not disappear altogether.above for better negotiation of familyThat, then, is the challenge: how to have mostnetworking in major towns and cities are people living outside of the communityneeded. This is a problem everywhere and settlement without losing the sense ofneeds new considerations (Devitt &community and kin-ship – how not to lose theMcMasters, 1998a, 1998b).forms of relationship engendered by having kinbasedcommunities (as shown partially in TableA number of ways could be explored tobetter handle maintenance of treatments for 1) when most people live elsewhere for at leastchronic conditions in remote areas. Where part of their lives.there are strong kin-based networks it makesFor long term sustainability of remotesense for people with chronic conditions to communities, utilising the power of kin-basedhave a community mentor to help withrelationships to adapt into new relationshipstreatment maintenance. However, this person would be an advantage. One of the powerfulwould need to be chosen by the community benefits of kin-based relationships is theand would need the same training andcooperation and sense of obligation to do thingsmonitoring that would be the case in major for each other. Most government solutions havetowns and cities, but should provide strong ignored this because of not wanting to trustsupport in maintaining treatments without the community members to work as a whole, andneed for medical consultation.from trying to pin responsibly onto individualsA Note on Long-term Solutionsrather than whole communities, as westernThe way we think about remoteforms of relationships require (Table 1). But thesettlements, homelands, and communities power of kin-based communities to ‘get thingsmight need to change. For example, thinking done’ could be better harnessed in futurethat the settlement or homeland is the ‘hub,’ solutions if communities are given more powerwhere most people should reside in order to be to choose their own futures (Dillon &considered community members, leads to Westbury, 2007; Moran, 2004; Smith & Hunt,certain ways of approaching issues, and many 2006; Waltja & WAVE, 2005).of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait IslanderFigure 1 as a Tool for Communities?communities view their homelands in this way. What can be done, and this is one goal forIt is possible, though, to consider that the future research, is to develop some communitysettlement or homeland is a community centre development ‘tools’ that explicitly address theand a ‘place’ where people have ties, but most concerns of this paper and facilitateof the members will live outside of that region, communities finding their own specificin remote urban areas, for at least some of their solutions, rather than expecting a solution thatlives. In this way, the importance and integrity will fit everyone. For viability andof ‘home’ remains, but the ways in which this sustainability, the community as a whole canis sustained become different. There arelearn to negotiate relationships of differentfunctions and across large distances. People incommunities can discuss the problems andThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Remote communities84solutions noted here, can draw differentversions of Figure 1 for their specificcircumstances, and can design ways tomaintain those relationships that are necessary(cf. Walsh & Mitchell, 2002). Part of thismight require the education of theirrelationship partners as well as communitymembers. It might also require a sort of reversecultural awareness training for some kin-basedcommunities to provide ways of interactingbetter with those used to stranger relationships.It might allow roles to develop for certainskilled community members to deal with someof the relationships in Figure 1 that arenecessary, rather than spreading this across thewhole community and trying to educateeveryone at once. The hope is that ifcommunities, and those who deal withcommunities, can better manage relationshipsand how they function, then many of the otherdifficulties experienced in living in remotecommunities might be solved.ReferencesAboriginal Resource and DevelopmentServices (ARDS). (1994). Cross culturalawareness education for Aboriginalpeople: A consultancy for the Office ofAboriginal Development. Darwin, NT:Author.Biddle, N. & Hunter, B. H. (2005). Factorsassociated with internal migration: Acomparison between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Working PaperNo. 32/2005, Centre for AboriginalEconomic Policy Research, ANU.Bourke, C., Bourke, A., & Edwards, B. (1994).Aboriginal Australia: An introductoryreader in Aboriginal Studies. Brisbane:University of Queensland Press.Congress for Aboriginal and Torres StraitIslander Nurses (CATSIN) (2002). Gettinem n Keepin em: Report of the IndigenousNursing Education Working Group to theCommonwealth Department of Health andAgeing: Office for Aboriginal and TorresStrait Islander Health. Commonwealth ofAustralia: Canberra. Retrieved 31 August2008 from http://www.indiginet.com.au/catsin/images/get%20em1.pdfCocklin, C., & Dibden, J. (Eds.). (2005).Sustainability and change in ruralAustralia. Sydney: University of New SouthWales Press.Devitt, J., & McMasters, A. (1998a). Living onmedicine: A cultural study of end-stagerenal disease among Australian Aboriginalpeople. Alice Springs: IAD Press.Devitt, J., & McMasters, A. (1998b). On themachine: Aboriginal stories about kidneytroubles. Alice Springs: IAD Press.Dillon, M. C., & Westbury, N. D. (2007).Beyond humbug: Transforming governmentengagement with Indigenous Australia.Westlakes, SA: Seaview Press.Dingo, S. (1998). Dingo: The story of our mob.Sydney: Random House Australia.Folds, R. (2001). Crossed purposes: ThePintupi and Australia’s indigenous policy.Sydney: UNSW Press.Foster, D., Mitchell, J., Ulrik, J. & Williams, R.(2005) Population and mobility in the TownCamps of Alice Springs. A Report Preparedby Tangentyere Council Research Unit.Alice Springs: Desert KnowledgeCooperative Research Centre Report 9.Fuller, D., Caldicott, J., Cairncross, G., &Wilde, S. (2007). Poverty, Indigenousculture and ecotourism in Remote Australia.Development, 50, 141-148.Goffman, E. (1967). Interaction ritual: Essayson face-to-face behavior. Harmondsworth,Middlesex: Penguin Books.Granovetter, M. (1982). The strength of weakties: A network theory revisited. In P. V.Marsden & N. Lin (Eds.), Social structureand network analysis (pp. 105-130).London: Sage.Guerin, B. (2004). Handbook for analyzing thesocial strategies of everyday life. Reno,Nevada: Context Press.Guerin, B. & Guerin, P. (2007). 17 Ways that‘community talk’ misguides research. In R.DeSouza & A. Williams (Eds), Researchingwith communities: Grounded perspectivesThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Remote communities85on engaging communities in research,(pp. 263-274). Muddy Creek Press:Auckland.Guerin, P. B., Nikora, L. W., & Rua, M.(2006). Tūhoe on the move: Regionalmobility. New Zealand PopulationReview, 32, 65-90.Haslam McKenzie, F. (2007). Attracting andretaining skilled and professional staff inremote locations. Desert KnowledgeCRC Report Number 21.Hill, M. E. & Augoustinos, M. (2001).Stereotype change and prejudicereduction: Short- and long-termevaluation of a cross-cultural awarenessprogramme. Journal of Community andApplied Social Psychology, 11, 243-262.Kiselica, M. S., Maben, P., & Locke, D. C.(1999). Do multicultural education anddiversity appreciation training reduceprejudice among counseling trainees?Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 21,240-254.Lindsley, S. L. (1998). Organizationalinterventions to prejudice. In M. L. Hecht(Ed.), Communicating prejudice (pp. 302-310). London: Sage.Moisseff, M. (1999). An aboriginal village inSouth Australia: A snapshot ofDavenport. Canberra: AIATSIS.Moody, R. (1988). The indigenous voice:Visions and realities (Vol. 1 & Vol. 2).London: Zed Books.Moran, M. F. (2004). The practice ofparticipatory planning at MapoonAboriginal Settlements: Towardscommunity control, ownership andautonomy. Australian GeographicalStudies, 42, 339-355.Newman, P., Marinova, D., Armstrong, R.,Raven, M., Marley, J., McGrath, N., &Spring, F. (2008). Desert settlementtypology: Preliminary literature. DesertKnowledge CRC, Report Number 35.Nikora, L. W., Guerin, B., Rua, M. & TeAwekotuku, N. (2004). Moving awayfrom home: Some social consequences forTühoe migrating to the Waikato. NewZealand Population Review, 30, 95-112.Nikora, L. W., Rua, M. & Te Awekotuku, N.,Guerin, B., & McCaughey, J. (2008). Socialconsequences of Tūhoe migration: Voicesfrom home in Te Urewera. Mai Review, 1,1-13.Oeser, O. A. & Emory, F. E. (1954). Socialstructure and personality in a ruralcommunity. London: Routledge & KeganPaul.Panagiotopoulos, C., Rozmus, J., Gagnon, R.E., & Macnab, A. J. (2007). Diabetesscreening of children in a remote FirstNations community on the west coast ofCanada: Challenges and solutions. Ruraland Remote Health, 7, 771.Partington, G. (1995). Why Aboriginal Studieswon't stop racism. In J. Collins (Ed.),Confronting racism in Australia, Canadaand New Zealand (Vol. 1, pp. 355-365).University of Technology, Sydney: Facultyof Business.Poirier, S. (2005). A world of relationships:Itineraries, dreams, and events in theAustralian Western Desert. Toronto:University of Toronto Press.Reid, C. & Holland, W. (1996). AboriginalRural Education Program: A case study inanti-racist strategies. In E. Vasta & S.Castles (Eds.), The teeth are smiling: Thepersistence of racism in multiculturalAustralia (pp. 112-129). Sydney: Allen &Unwin.Simmel, G. (1978/1907). The philosophy ofmoney. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Smith, D. E. & Hunt, J. (2006). BuildingIndigenous community governance inAustralia. Preliminary research findings.CAEPR Working Paper No 31. Retrieved 27July 2006 from http://www.anu.edu.au/caepr/working.php#31Taylor, D. M. & Wright, S. C. (2003). Doaboriginal students benefit from educationin their heritage language? Results from aten-year program of research in Nunavik.The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Remote communities86Canadian Journal of Native Studies, 23, 1-24.Teddy, L., Nikora, L. W., & Guerin, B. (2008).Place attachment of Ngāi Te Ahi to HairiniMarae. Mai Review, 1, 1-18.Underhill, C. R., Goldstein, D. & Grogan, P.B. (2006). Inequity in rural cancer survivalin Australia is not an insurmountableproblem. Medical Journal of Australia,185, 479-480.Wakerman, J., Chalmers, E. M., Humphreys, J.S., Clarence, C. L., Bell, A. I., Larson, A.,Lyle, D., & Pashen, D. R. (2005).Sustainable chronic disease management inremote Australia. Medical Journal ofAustralia, 183, s64-s68.Walker, R. J. I. (1975). The politics ofvoluntary association. In I. H. Kawharu(Ed.), Conflict and compromise: Essays onthe Maori since colonisation (pp. 167-186).Wellington: A. H. & A. W. Reed.Walsh, F. & Mitchell, P. (Eds.). (2002).Planning for country: Cross-culturalapproaches to decision-making onAboriginal lands. Alice Springs: JukurrpaBooks.Waltja and WAVE (2005). Helping people tohelp themselves: A study of training issuesfor Aboriginal women and their remotecommunities in Central Australia. Reportprepared for Security4Women. Availablefrom http://www.security4women.com/HelpingPeopletoHelpThemselves_Waltjareport_July05.pdfYoung, E. A. & Fisk, E. K. (Eds.). (1982).Small rural communities. Canberra: ANUDevelopment Studies Centre.Zimmermann, J. A. M. Davidson, K.,Cacciattolo, M. & Mahon, L. (2007).Relationship building in remote IndigenousAustralian communities: Case studies froma literacy program. The InternationalJournal of the Humanities, 5, 223-230.We will not go into this as it differs betweencountries as well. We think that the approachof Hugo (2005) is the most sensible option:defining in terms of accessibility rather thanphysical distance, but we will not pursue thathere.2 As is well known, there are other ways ofreferring to Aboriginal and Torres StraitIslander peoples, including “Indigenous” andusing local names such as Kaurna. In this paperwe use the first of these out of respect for thepeople of the Adelaide plains who prefer“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders” whena specific group is not being referred to.AcknowledgementsWe wish to acknowledge the University ofSouth Australia, Flinders University of SouthAustralia, and the Desert Knowledge CRC(especially the Core Project 4 team) for theirdifferent forms of support. Thanks to KurtSeemann for talks and encouragement. We alsothank the community members and others fordiscussions about the relationships in Figure 1although we have chosen not to name them.Address correspondence toBernard GuerinSchool of PsychologyUniversity of South AustraliaSt. Bernard’s RoadMagill 5153Adelaide 5001South Australiaemail: bernard.guerin@unisa.edu.auNotes1There are definitional arguments about whatis remote and what is rural (or other terms).The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


87Textbook Answers?Bróna Nic Giolla EaspaigDavid FryerUniversity of Stirling, ScotlandThis paper is written within a communitycritical psychology frame of reference, that is,one which is equally committed to exposingand problematising aspects of exploitative,oppressive, unjust and pathogenic societies andalso exposing and problematising reactionaryaspects of the discipline of psychology whichconstruct, maintain or collude with oppressivesocietal arrangements.This frame of reference involves acommitment to problematising ideologicallyreactionary aspects of mainstreampsychological ‘knowledge’ and practice,including pedagogy; developing alternativeways to construct knowledges and promotingcritical thinking about them; making visibleand contesting processes of psychologicaloppression; and developing innovative sociostructuralinter- and pre-ventions to reduceoppression through emancipatory socialchange which progressively redistributespower. Community critical psychology means:“engaging with the way societal hierarchies areset up and maintained through wealth, class,labour market position, ethnic dominance(majority/minority status), gender etc., and theway societal structures impact on people bothobjectively and through their subjectiveunderstanding of them” (Fryer, 2008, p. 242).In this paper, we attempt to docommunity critical psychology bysimultaneously addressing gendered societaloppression and the collusion of mainstreampsychology with it. In this paper we use‘discourses’ in the Foucauldian sense to referto “historically and culturally located systemsof power/knowledge” which “constructsubjects and their worlds” and which are notonly “bodies of ideas, ideologies, or othersymbolic formulations” but “also workingattitudes, modes of address, terms of reference,and courses of action suffused into socialpractices” (Holstein & Gubrium, 2005, p. 490).We use the term ‘dominant discourses’ to referto discourses which “privilege those versions ofversions of social reality which legitimateexisting power relations and socialstructures” (Willig, 2001, p. 107).Introductory psychology textbooks arepositioned within dominant discourses asessential reading for most undergraduatecourses, providing ‘foundational knowledge’.For example, even two textbooks of communitypsychology likely to be familiar to readers ofthis journal, which are widely regarded as morecritically oriented than most textbooks,reproduce this discourse on their covers.Community Psychology: Theory, Method andPractice – South African and OtherPerspectives (Seedat, Duncan, & Lazarus,2001) self-describes on its back cover as:“giving the reader a thorough introduction tothe theory and methodology of the field . . . thisis a vital text for social science and publichealth students and practitioners” and Nelsonand Prilletensky’s (2005) CommunityPsychology: In Pursuit of Liberation and Well-Being, self-describes on its back cover as an“up-to-date and highly engaging text” which“provides students with an introduction to thehistory and foundations of communitypsychology”.However, within subjugated, critical,counter discourses, the textbook is positioned associally, economically, politically constitutedand thus potentially ideologically problematic.This article is written from such a criticalstandpoint. In this paper we are not using theterm “critical” as it is often used in everydaylanguage as equivalent to ‘fault-finding’ nor asit is often used in mainstream psychology asevaluating claims against a set of narrow preandpro-scriptive, fundamentally positivist,naïve realist, criteria – ironically this is to use“critical” to mean “acritical” (see Fryer,Duckett & Pratt, 2004 for a development ofThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Textbook answers?88these ideas).Rather we use “critical” as it is used incritical theory and particularly by Foucault(1981/2002) who asserted that being critical:…does not consist in saying thatthings aren’t good the way they are.It consists in seeing what type ofassumptions, of familiar notions, ofestablished, unexamined ways ofthinking the accepted practices arebased”, in “showing that things arenot as obvious as people believe,making it so that what is taken forgranted is no longer taken forgranted. To do criticism is to makeharder those acts which are now tooeasy. (pp. 456-457)More particularly, Foucault (1978/2007)wrote that: “critique finds its anchoring pointin the problem of certainty in its confrontationwith authority” (p. 46). According to Foucault,this involves “not accepting as true … what anauthority tells you is true, or at least notaccepting it because an authority tells you thatit is true” (p. 46). Whilst this resistance is,perhaps, easily understood in relation totextbook claims, for Foucault, resistingpedagogy is but one form of resistance to “allthe arts of governing – the art of pedagogy, theart of politics, the art of economics . . . all theinstitutions of government, in the widersense” (pp. 43-44).Resistance to ‘governmentality’, in theFoucauldian sense, is not a matter of resistingall government, that is, of being anarchic but ofresisting being “governed like that, by that, inthe name of those principles, with such anobjective in mind and by means of suchprocedures, not like that, not for that, not bythem . . .” (Foucault, 1978/2007, p. 44).Resisting governmentality includes resistingbeing governed through our own ‘mentality’through our internalisation of ways ofunderstanding the social world and ourselveswithin it, internalisation which serve theinterests of the status quo through ourdeployment of our own agency againstourselves thus rendering ourselves compliant.In this paper, we engage in communitycritical psychology by arguing that what isaccomplished through psychology textbooks isnot as obvious as some people believe, byundermining the authority of the textbook, bychallenging a pedagogical means through whichgovernmentality is accomplished in the interestsof those benefiting from patriarchy andheterosexuality and, in particular byproblematising the oppressive discursiveconstruction of women and the complicity ofthe discipline of psychology in this via itspedagogy and its pedagogic tools such astextbooks.In this paper, we analyse two textbooksand explore how women are constructed andde-powered in them within discourses of ‘moraldevelopment’. Our analysis draws on QueerTheory as a theoretical resource (for more onQueer Theory see Plummer, 2005) and deploysFoucauldian discourse analysis as a tool. Ourpaper raises issues about how womenundergraduates can critically contest discourseswhich oppress them and are constructed andmaintained through the discipline’s practiceswhich they enact as students within itspedagogic practices.The Politics of the Textbook“Little attention has actually been paid tothat one artefact that plays such a major role indefining whose culture is taught – thetextbook” (Apple & Christian-Smith, 1991, p.1). The textbook is a widely used tool at manylevels of education, and is often positioned,explicitly or implicitly, as reproducing‘objective knowledge’ which is neutral to thenexus of forces within which it is produced.However, Apple (1990) argues, on the contrary,that the textbook is a socially constructedfunction of complex power-battles withinsociety, and that knowledge is always producedin the context of political, economic, culturalconflicts in relation to power.Critical discourse analysis has alsorevealed the politicised nature of knowledge(Derrin, 2004) and critical scholars have arguedThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Textbook answers?89that textbooks must be considered in terms ofwhose interests are served – not simply theinterests of individuals benefiting from theirproduction and sale but also from the widerideologising and colonising in which they areimplicated (Fryer & Laing, this issue). Apple(2001) demonstrates how gendered discoursesare reproduced in educational institutions,practises and tools, in terms of (de)prioritising,and (de)valuing various knowledges. Previousresearch has found dominant oppressivediscourses in biology textbooks in the form ofunderlying assumptions, omission ofinformation and reluctance to engage in criticaldiscussion (Snyder & Broadway, 2004).Queer TheoryQueer theorists like Judith Butler (1990)seek to challenge and destabilise the taken-forgrantedconstructed categories to which peopleare assigned, particularly concerning sexualityand gender. Queer theory rejects anysuggestion of an ‘essential’, stable, sexual orgender identity but sees these as constructsconstituted and sustained through discursiveand other social practices (Stein & Plummer,1996). Queer theory draws from the work ofFoucault (1978) which theorises of power notas a thing which is possessed but rather asfluid-like and enacted through being exercised.Queer theory does not presume the existenceof the ‘subject’ and assumes there is no preexisting,gendered, woman but that gender is‘done’, or ‘performed’: “There is nothingbehind the expression of gender, gender isperformatively constituted by the very‘expressions’ that are said to be itsresults” (Butler, 1990, p. 25). Queer theory is,thus, a theoretical resource which provides adeconstructive methodology and also aconceptual framework through which widerissues can be problematised.Critical Discourse AnalysisThe analysis, through which a queerdeconstruction of power relations andreproductions embedded in the text wasachieved, was based on principles of criticaldiscourse analysis put forward by Parker(1992).The research questions posed were: howare women positioned in discourses dominantwithin the moral development literature andwhat are the implications for women’sinterests? A preliminary reading was thencarried out, through the ‘queer lens’, to identify,select and group together pieces of text thatconcerned gender in moral development. Thefocus of the analysis looked at how women,men, morality, gender and sex were constructedas subjects or objects. This was done bydetailed critical examination of the texts withattention, specifically, to how subjects andobjects were constructed and positioned withinthe discourses which made them meaningful.Whatever was positioned as lacking agency andhaving things done to it was regarded as anobject. Whatever was positioned as agentic andas doing things were regarded as subjects. Howcategories of sex and gender were deployed inthe text was examined and the implicationssurfaced, for example, sex differences in a textwould position the object or subject in abiological discourse whereas gender wouldposition the object or subject in a socialconstruction discourse. Morality was analysedas a socially constructed concept defining theterrain upon which power struggles take place.Constructions of subjects and objects weredrawn together from the different extracts oftext, themes for the drawing together madeexplicit, themes positioned in relation to oneanother, consistencies and inconsistenciesexposed and contrasting ways in which objectswere constructed identified. For example, theway in which women were constructed andpositioned within different conceptualisationsof morality by the two theorists were comparedand contrasted and the ways in which the textlegitimised and privileged certain theorists orideas considered. Next, how various discoursessustained or subverted ideologies, how the textsreproduced power relations outside themselves,whose interests were at stake in any particulardiscourse and who benefited or lost from thereproduction of certain discourses wereThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Textbook answers?90examined from a queer theory perspective.Although the above is presented as aseries of steps, in line with therecommendations of Parker (1992), the processwas neither sequential nor rigid but movediteratively back and forth between the subprocessesas seemed appropriate.The textbooks critiqued were Psychologyfor A2 Level, an introductory A-level text byMichael Eysenck (Eysenck, 2001), aprominent mainstream male British professorof psychology, and DeconstructingDevelopmental Psychology by Erica Burman(Burman, 2007), a prominent feminist femaleBritish professor of psychology. Both bookswere marketed as for beginners in psychology.The full analysis is too lengthy to include butbelow we include a summary of the findingsdrawing on the research process.In terms of moral development,Eysenck’s (2001) text, Psychology for A2Level, supports the widely known Kohlbergianstage theory of moral development in whichmen are positioned as achieving higher levelsof moral development than women. The textprivileges this theory in a number of ways. Theauthority of Gilligan’s work was underminedin the text by Eysenck, by being positionedalong with Freud’s but in contrast toKohlberg’s, as lacking good empirical support,that is, as being scientifically suspect. Forexample, when Gilligan’s criticism ofKohlberg’s theory is described, the textneutralises it by the addition of a comment that“It might be worth noting that the findings ofGilligan’s original research study involved arelatively small number of women, and a ratherunsystematic and potentially biased method ofinterviewing” (p. 406). Eysenck’s textreproduces a discourse of ‘sex differences’which are positioned as being undeniablemanifestations of an essentialising biological‘reality’ amenable to standardised, empiricalmeasurements, which is consistent withKohlberg’s but not Gilligan’s theory andwithin which discourse females are lessmorally developed than males as a matter ofbiological fact.This discourse is reproduced throughoutthe text through the way in which most majorstudies have an evaluation box whichtokenistic-ally states the ‘sex’ differences’. Inthis textbook, gender was positioned asirrelevant to the understanding of the topicbecause it could not be empirically quantifiedand was thus unrelated to the pure, ‘objective’nature of psychology (as the dominantdiscourse would have it). From a queer theorystandpoint this categorisation is extremelydangerous as it shackles in a way which is predeterminedand therefore unchangeable.Furthermore, this separates and dismisses therole of society in the construction of women,men and morality, rendering an individualistic,essentialistic explanation as the only option forexplaining women’s failure in development.Tellingly, Erica Burman’s textbook,Deconstructing Developmental Psychology, didnot have a specific chapter or section on genderbut unlike the Eysenck text but rather addressedthroughout the whole text how gender isimplicated and embedded in all psychologicalinventions and issues. In the chapter discussingmoral development, the core assumption is ofgender differences rather than sex differences.Burman’s (2007) textbook strongly privilegesthe work of Gilligan, and quickly separates itfrom the other models: “Carol Gilligan (1982)points out that both Piaget and Kohlbergderived their norms from studying boys andmen” (p. 289). These models are criticised ontheir methodological shortcomings, but thiscomment also illustrates how many prominenttheories of moral development have beenformed from a male perspective.With respect to Kohlberg’s theory ofmore development, Burman claims thatGilligan:…argues that it subscribesto a model of morality based onindividual rights and freedoms of thekind enshrined in Western legalsystems, whereas, she i.e. Gilliganholds, women’s moral developmentThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Textbook answers?91is characterised by a much morecontextualised morality concernedwith conflicting responsibilitiesand care – that is, concerned withresponsibilities and relationshipsrather than rights and rules. (p.289)This constructs the Western legal system as amale dominated institution from which ourconceptualisation of morality is based. This isevident in the text as the Kolhbergian worktends to see justice and morality as one in thesame, or at least as the most importantcomponent. Gilligan proposes a genderbasedapproach consisting of two separatemoral orientations: the female orientationconcerned with issues of care andresponsibility; and the male orientationconcerned with issues of rights and justice.Both orientations are positioned asequivalents in terms of development.This powerful rejection of the sexistdiscourses embedded in the ‘sex differences’based theories, and the critical awareness ofthe male dominated institutions such as thelegal system, have enabled a groundbreakingre-conceptualisation of the field driven bycritical thinkers such as Gilligan and Burman.In trying to move a little further forward, thispaper attempts to be critical of the critical.Gender has been used successfully, as adeconstructive tool, but we must alsoconsider how gender can be problematic.The text does reflect on the potentialproblems with a gendered morality – “Whilethere are problems with the idealisation ofwomen’s qualities within this account (seeSpelman 1990: Elam 1994) the value of thework lies in demonstrating the limitedapplication to and far-reaching devaluation ofwomen structured within the cognitivedevelopmental model” (p. 290). Aside fromthis reflection, the text generally shows astrong privileging of gendered assumptionsand Gilligan’s work. In Burman’s textbook(2007) gender was deployed to challenge ‘sexdifferences’ in re-conceptualising morality.Sex differences were explained in terms ofgendered moral orientations. This is highlyproblematic as gender ceases to be explored interms of a complex process but is reduced todualistic concept, each gender summed up witha simple set of attributes. The binding of menand women into these categories leads to moraldevelopment and gender becoming reflective ofone another i.e. certain paths of moraldevelopment reflect on your ‘femaleness’ andvice versa. In society we are expected to livewithin a category of gender or sexuality(Epstein, 1996). The categorisations are highlystereotypical and there is a lack of seriousconcern about the idealisation of women’svirtues. In Gilligan’s theorising of morality(according to Burman), the categorisationsfunction in the same manner. In moraldevelopment for boys and girls there is adistinct line of progression, certain attributesassociated with the category and certainaspiration within the category. Thecategorisations position women as subjects onstereotypical and gender-biased terrain. TheBurman analysis thus attempts to includewomen’s experience conceptualising gender,but instead functions to pigeon-hole. In thisrespect there was the potential for the dualisticgender category explanation to marginalise,exclude and be itself situated within astereotypical and oppressive discourse. Tronto(1993) argued that the notion of ‘women’smorality’, which risks excluding many toprivilege a few, has not worked in the past.Our analysis highlights the need forfeminist work to move toward a processthrough which the perspectives and experiencesof women are valued whilst recognising andattending to the vast diversity within thesecontributions.ConclusionTexts validate and reinforce theirauthority over readers. Through privilegingdominant discourse by appealing to notions ofobjective science and valid measurements, boththe academic and institutional practisesinvolved are reinforced as well as the authors’The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Textbook answers?92authority on the matters. Both texts useexactly the same mechanisms to de-legitimiseand legitimise: through praise or criticism ofthe methodology used in empirical studies.Whilst this may be nothing new for themainstream textbook, the Burman text isappealing to the very discipline that it isattempting to deconstruct. Furthermore, it isappealing to a form of objectivity. Whilstmany readers of Burman’s text will likely beused to reading more mainstream texts, whichuse these principles and whilst it could beargued that this text is ‘using the master’stools’ to subvert, this strategy has widelybeen considered problematic by feministsciting Audre Lorde’s (1984/2007) dictum thatthat “the master’s tools will never dismantlethe master’s house” (p. 110). The analysisshowed that when an oppressivelyconstructed category was challenged, twomore categories which were potentially asoppressive and biased as the original categoryand essentially produced the same discourseswere presented as alternative by a criticallyoriented author. Dominant discourses, such assexist discourses, are held in place in relationto one another in powerful ways, and areimplicated and embedded in every socialinteraction and event. If we deconstruct aparticular category, we must be alert to thepotential for whatever replaces that categoryto be just as ideologically problematic.The reader might ask herself why wehave not here also problematised thediscursive construction of men. Our aim is tofind ways to move towards redressing theimbalance of power relations, not onlybetween the authority of the institution andstudent learners but between women andmen. The construction of the maleis important, as constructions of the male andthe female are interdependent, for examplethe same discourse which positions women asdeficient as regards sense of justice, positionsmen as being well endowed with a sense ofjustice. The reproduction of oppressiveconstructions of women will not beaddressed without addressing the reproductionof privileged constructions of men. We aretherefore in favour of further analysis of theconstruction of the male, but as a resource foraddressing power relations which areoppressive to the female. This analysis couldalso be useful in providing a critical awarenessof the micropolitics of gender relations in termsof how dominant discourses are constructed andreproduced. The privileged, that is, men have animportant role to play and a responsibility inproblematising these oppressive discourses.However, we are committed toemancipatory process which tries to redressoppressive power imbalances by surfacing andcontesting such oppression and working topromote the interests of the depowered group.In our view women are systematicallydiscriminated against and depowered in neoliberalsocieties and therefore the primarypurpose of this paper is to conscientize thereader about the ways in which dominantdiscourses oppress women and privilege menand how they are deployed through the mediumof the undergraduate mainstream, malestream,psychology textbook.ReferencesApple, M.W (1990). The text and culturalpolitics. Journal of Educational Thought,24, 17-33.Apple, M. W. (2001). Educating the “Right”way: Markets, standards, God andinequality. New York: Routledge.Apple, M. W., & Christian-Smith, L. K. (1991).The politics of the textbook. In M. W.Apple, & L. K. Christian-Smith (Eds.), Thepolitics of the textbook (pp. 1-22). NewYork: Routledge.Burman, E. (2007). Deconstructingdevelopmental psychology (2 nd ed.).London: Taylor & Francis.Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble: Feminismand the subversion of identity. New York:Routledge.Derrin, P. (2004) Indoctrinating the Youth ofPost-War Spain: A Discourse Analysis of aFascist Civics Textbook. Discourse Society;The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Textbook answers?9315; 649-667.Epstein, S. (1996). A queer encounter:Sociology and the study of sexuality. InSeidman, S. (Ed.), Queer theory/sociology(pp. 145-168). Oxford: Blackwell.Eysenck, M. W. (2001). Psychology for A2Level. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.Foucault, M. (1978). The history of sexuality.Volume I: An Introduction, trans. RobertHurley. New York: Pantheon.Foucault, M. (1978/2007). What is critique?Text of lecture given to French Society ofPhilosophy May 27 1978. Published in ThePolitics of Truth (2nd ed.). Los Angeles:Semiotext(e).Foucault, M. (1981/2002). So is it important tothink? Interview conducted by DidierEribon, published in Liberation (30-31May 1981). Republished in Faubion (Ed.).Power: Essential works of Michel Foucault1954-1983. Volume 3. London: Penguin.Fryer, D. (2008). Power from the people?Critical reflection on a conceptualization ofpower. Journal of Community Psychology,36, 238-245.Fryer, D., Duckett, P., & Pratt, R. (2004).Critical community psychology: What,why and how? Clinical Psychology, 38,39-43.Holstein, J. A., & Gubrium, J. F. (2005).Interpretive practice and social action. InN. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), TheSage handbook of qualitative research (3 rded., pp. 483-505). Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage.Lorde, A. (1984/2007). Sister outsider: Essaysand speeches. Berkley: Crossing Press.Nelson, G., & Prilleltensky, I. (Eds.). (2005).Community psychology: In pursuit ofliberation and well-being. Basingstoke:Palgrave Macmillan.Parker, I. (1992). Discourse dynamics: Criticalanalysis for social and individualpsychology. Routledge: London and NewYork.Plummer, K. (2005). Critical humanism andqueer theory. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S.Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage handbook ofqualitative research (3 rd ed., pp. 357-373).Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Seedat, M., Duncan, N., & Lazarus, S. (Eds.).(2001). Community psychology: Theory,method and practice – South African andother perspectives. Cape Town: OxfordUniversity Press.Snyder V. L., & Broadway F. S. (2004)Queering high school biology textbooks.Journal of Research in Science andTeaching 41, 617-636.Stein, A., & Plummer, K. (1996). “I can’t eventhink straight”: Queer Theory and themissing sexual revolution in sociology. In S.Seidman (Ed.), Queer theory/sociology (pp.129-144). Oxford: Blackwell.Tronto, J. C. (1993). Moral boundaries: Apolitical argument for an ethic of care. NewYork: Routledge.Willig, C. (2001). Introducing qualitativeresearch in psychology: Adventures intheory and method. Maidenhead: OpenUniversity Press.NoteBróna Nic Giolla Easpaig and David Fryer arerelocating to Charles Sturt University, NewSouth Wales, Australia in early 2009.Address correspondence toBróna Nic Giolla Easpaigbronanicgiollaeaspaig@googlemail.comDavid FryerUniversity of Stirling, Scotlanddrdavidfryer@yahoo.co.ukThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


94Foucault, Psychology and the Analytics of PowerDerek HookHampshire, Palgrave MacmillanReviewed byDamien W. RiggsSchool of PsychologyUniversity of AdelaideSouth Australia 5005Book ReviewIn this review I focus primarily upon theaspects of this text that pertain to anapplication of the work of Foucault topsychological practice, and in particular itsutility for further developing modes of practicethat are amendable to those working in thefield of community psychology with its focuson respect for diversity. The book itself alsoprovides extensive attention to applications ofFoucault’s work to the development ofresearch methodologies for use within thediscipline of psychology, and to the study ofspecific topics such as racism, paedophilia andthe construction of gated communities. Someof these topics are addressed in a separatereview published elsewhere (Riggs, 2008).Throughout the early chapters of thebook Hook provides a thorough explication ofpsychology’s role in the promotion ofdisciplinarity, or more preciselysubjectivisation: a process differentiated fromsubjectification (the production of intelligiblenormative subject positions within any givensocial context) by its emphasis upon the waysin which particular regimes of truth (such aspsychology) encourage people to apply suchnormative subject positions to themselves.Certainly in regards to my own counsellingwork this made me think of the ways in whichcontemporary practice discourse surrounding‘patient rights’ and ‘confidentiality’ mayactually serve to perpetuate disciplinarity andsubjectivisation through positioning those whoseek psychological intervention as inhabitingparticular subject positions that come with arange of attendant expectations that must beenacted or claimed by the individual.Furthermore, it made me reflect upon howthis increased (or at least differentiallyenacted) emphasis upon the subjectivisationof clients serves to shift attention away fromthose who provide services and theirinvestments in the process of disciplinarity.These musings, directly derived from myreading of Hook’s text, are closely related tocommunity psychology’s aim to move awayfrom an emphasis in practice uponinadequacy or failure (an approach largelymade possible through the aforementionedmodes of practice that render clients theprimary focus of intervention), and toward afocus on strengths and the location ofindividuals within social contexts thatvariously promote or negate individualwellbeing.Hook’s writing also consistentlydeconstructs the temporal flow ofpsychological knowledge claims, wherebyrather than seeing supposedly empirical‘facts’ about individuals (such as thoseproduced through psychological testing) asleading to psychological knowledge,psychological knowledge is instead seen asleading to the construction of particularindividuals. In other words, Hook outlinesFoucault’s directive for the ongoinginterrogation of how psychological constructsserve to produce particular intelligible subjectpositions that are typically framed in thenegative sense as a fundamental failure orinability to approximate certain social normsdeemed as ‘healthy’. In this regard, andwhilst Hook spends considerable timeelaborating Foucault’s emphasis upon the factThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Book review95that networks of social power are not enactedby any singular sovereign subject, he alsooutlines how particular social contexts areconstitutive of agents who are variouslyinvested with power on the basis of socialmarkers deemed more or less intelligible andthus more or less worthy. In this sense, Hookusefully emphasises a relational understandingof power, whereby not only are individualspositioned in a relationship to social normsvariously enacted upon bodies throughinstitutions such as psychology that privilegeparticular modes of being over others, butwhere the relationality of power makespossible resistances to hegemonic ways ofbeing. Such an account of power is vitallyimportant for a community psychology seekingnot only to challenge the imposition ofnormative social forces onto the bodies ofmarginalised individuals, but also to recognisethe incompleteness of normative powerrelations: they forever fail to truly encompassor exclude all modes of being, thus suggestingthat social change is indeed possible.In addition to examining the broad waysin which psychology as it is typically practicedis complicit with modes of disciplinarity inrelation to the regulation of bodies andwellbeing, Hook also examines the spatial andmicro-interactional instances wherepsychology functions to perpetuate particularmodes of being. For example, and in relation topsychology’s role in engendering‘confessional’ modes of being, Hook outlineshow the specific spaces produced withinpractice settings engender modes of relatingthat maintain the client-practitioner binary.Hook also examines how claims to ‘nonjudgmental’and ‘non-moralising’ practice mayactually serve to further the project ofdisciplinary surveillance by eliciting‘confessions’ from clients. Empirical researchconducted by Hook and his colleagues wouldsuggest that whilst these types of approachesmay often be seen as ethical modes ofengagement, they may nonetheless function toencourage subjectivisation on the part ofclients. Rethinking the ethics ofpsychological practice, as has long been thetask of community psychology, musttherefore involve constant examination ofhow practitioners represent themselves toclients as individuals themselves invested inparticular outcomes and modes of being.Finally, Hook outlines an applicationof Foucault’s work on genealogy as aresearch method that I would suggest hasimportant implications for practice. Hooksuggests that rather than examining (orindeed constructing) linear trajectories orfinite histories, genealogical work is aboutexploring the spectrum of discontinuities,shifts, and marginalised knowledges thatproduce a context for events. In regard topractice, this could involve looking at how arange of ‘similar enough’ events cohere toproduce mental health outcomes that, ifdisaggregated, could produce quite adifferent picture for the client. Rather thanbeing about identifying antecedents orcauses, such an approach would instead beabout locating a range of events that makepossible a particular intelligible subjectposition, and how the role of clients inactivating this subject position throughsubjectivisation may be renarrated and thusshifted.Overall, and whilst the main focus ofHook’s text may not be practice, itnonetheless provides a clear series ofinjunctions for applying Foucault’sextensive (and historically shifting) body ofwork to understanding both psychology as adiscipline, and the specific practices ofpsychology that may serve to contribute tomarginalisation or which may ignore thediversity of experiences held by clients. Byrecognising these limitations and drawingupon the alternate histories rendered evidentthrough genealogical work, it may bepossible to continue the project ofcommunity psychology to develop modes ofengagement that are not only strengthfocused, but which are able to skilfullyThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Book review96negotiate the multiple and often conflictingdemands placed upon us all to function asintelligible subjects within a range of socialcontexts that typically promote certain subjectpositions as more ‘healthy’, acceptable, ordeserving of sanction than others.ReferenceRiggs, D. W. (2008). Book review. ACRAWSAe-journal, 4. www.ejournal.acrawsa.org.auThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


97Book ReviewInternational community psychology: history and theoriesS. M. Reich, M. Riemer, I. Prilleltensky & M. Montero (Eds.).New York: Springer. 2007443 pp.Reviewed byBrian BishopSchool of PsychologyCurtin University of Technologyb.bishop@curtin.edu.auInternational community psychology: Anessay reviewThis edited volume is the result ofdiscussions at the last but one biennial SCRAconference in New Mexico. It consists of 22chapters written by authors from LatinAmerica, Europe and the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, Africa and North America with anintroduction and summary/analysis written bythe editors. Each chapter is a description of theorigins of community psychology (CP) in acountry or region, its theoretical development,some of the practices and future directions.The diversity in all of these aspects reflects asense of vigour and concern for social justice.I will not try to elaborate all of thechapters, but in general terms it is veryrefreshing to see that there is little of the UScentricrhetoric that dominates much of the CPliterature. It is very pleasing, for example, thatthe US chapter is written from a refreshingfeminist perspective and not by some tired oldmale academic. This puts much of the work inperspective. While the Swampscott conferenceis cited by many textbooks as the origin of CP,we find that in many countries what became tobe recognised as CP actually arose in responseto local social issues and oppression. CP theorywas a retro fit in many cases and the localconcerns drove the nature of the expression ofCP. There are a few notable exceptions, thesebeing the USA (naturally) and Australia (withour cultural cringe reflecting in thedevelopment of CP here).The book is dedicated to all thecommunity psychologists around the worldwho struggle to promote well-being andliberation from oppression. While this is acommon theme, the issues differ from chapterto chapter, as does the notion and structure ofcommunity. For example in Cameroon(Nsamenang, Fru & Browne) the notion ofcommunity has developed is from villagetype communities characterised by collectivemutual assistance, through colonialimpositions of European notions ofcommunity as a civilising contribution to“backward" Africa, to a service relatedoutreach concept, and finally to humanservices psychology developing as anacademic discipline for community-basedpractitioners. The authors point out that thereis some conflict between the African-centricapproach to serving social needs throughindigenous communitarianism and what theylabel as the Ivory Tower approach ofacademic CP. The academic CP, as framedby the Swampscott conference, isinterventionist and they argue that fails torecognise the existing communitarianactivities, and thus reflects a latent colonialattitude. They present an important dialogueessential to understanding participation asintegration of indigenous social systems andCP theory and practice.In many regions community basedactivities preceded the development of USCP. These activities focused on resisting orThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Book review98reacting to a legacy of colonialism and/orindigenous power inequalities. CP has becomea convenient label that allows conversationbetween different researchers and professionalsacross the world. This conversation has at leasttwo important functions. One is to empowerresearchers and practitioners through acollective identity. The second is that culturaland historical differences allow the disciplineopportunities to reflect and thus continue todevelop theory through critical thought.Montero and Díaz discuss social-CP inLatin America and point out that it much of thedevelopment started in the 1970s. Theyacknowledge the importance of Marxism.Although only briefly acknowledged, is theimpact of Vatican II and liberation theology.Kurt Lewin's influence is also significant.Montero and Diaz put together a veryimportant summary of the developments of CPidentifying such antecedents such as the socialsciences approach to communities and themilitant and engaged critical research insociology and adult education in the period1995 to 1974. Following that were thecreation of participatory methods and in 1977the term participatory action research wascoined to denote a participatory style ofresearch that had been undertaken since the1950s. In the early 1980s liberation theologyinformed most of Latin American CP. Then inthe mid-80s there was discussion on thepractice of community strengthening andempowerment. In the late 80s through to themid-90s there was a deconstruction andanalysis of the notions of power. This led to agreater emphasis on understanding theepistemological and ontological bases of CPand critical theory in general. Also importantin the 90s was the emergence of considerationof emotion. The authors of this chapter makethe important point that the emergent CPsreflect local history, thinking and issues (and ageneral philosophy that is a mixture of localindigenous understandings, European culture,and a radicalised and socialist Catholicreligion, Smart, 1999). Montero and Díaz gofurther to suggest that the differencesbetween CPs across the globe offeropportunities for insights based on thecontrasts of social and historical contexts andthe nature of the development of thediscipline.The chapter on CP in New Zealand byRobertson and Masters-Awatere is significantgiven the close ties between New Zealandand Australian CP. The differences in originsand practices are important for CPs both sidesof the ‘ditch’. CP in New Zealand had itsorigins at least 15 years before Swampscott.The importance of the treatment of Maoricannot be under emphasised. Thedevelopment of CP has been informed by thesocial movements of Maori from the Treatyof Waitangi through to the re-emergence ofMaori culture. The authors acknowledge thatwhile the term CP was imported directly fromthe United States, the theoretical roots of thefield are its own and were more related tosocial conditions in New Zealand.This book represents a rich source ofinformation about CP as practised across theworld. While the editors point out thatfundamental notions such as community donot necessarily exist in all cultures, what isloosely described as CP in various places hassignificantly communality to make acollection like this useful. In trying tosummarise the similarities and differencesacross the world they had knowledge that it isa difficult process but they do quote theBritish authors (Burton, Boyle, Harris &Kagan) who see CP as "a framework forworking with those marginalised by socialsystems that leads to self-aware change withan emphasis on value-based, participatorywork and forging alliances." They reflectDalton, Elias and Wandersman's (2001)comments that CP "concerns the relationshipsof individual to communities and societies.Through collaborative research and action,community psychologists seek to understandand enhance the quality of life forindividuals, community, and society". WhatThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Book review99is clear from their summary is that differentialsin, and (mis)use of power, has led to the rise ofCP in very many places. CP often grew out ofNGOs and other community based work, eitherindigenous or as service provision. There is ageneral recognition that the struggle againstoppressive forces is a central defining featureof CP. While there is still considerablediversity across the world in terms of what CPis, how it is defined, its history and practiceswhat is notable about this book is that theeditors have been able to find 22 sets ofauthors who are able to engage in conversationabout the nature of their work and the work ofcolleagues in terms that is understandable to allthose people who label themselves communitypsychologistsThe editors noted that CP arose out of acritical reflection, mainly through socialpsychology, of what anthropologist andsociologists had been doing for some time.This observation seems to be true for many ofthe regions reported. It does raise the criticalissue though and that the place of theory in CP.Sarason (1982) made the comment that he feltthat American psychology had been poorlyserved by an obsession with the theory. Atsome levels this is reflected in this book. Theeditors emphasise the fact that this bookrepresents a conversation between researchersand practitioners from various parts of theworld. It is somewhat unfortunate that thelanguage of that conversation is dominated bythe US lexicon, as the editors discuss in theconcluding chapter. Many of the chaptersreflect the development of what might bebetter called psychology (or social psychology)in the community, where the role is in keepingwith Reiff’s (1968) concept of the participantconceptualiser; someone working in thecommunity, with the community, but retaininga reflective stance. There is a paradox that thetheoretical developments of notions ofempowerment and participation, for example,have been dominated by US academics. Inseeking to provide a language for mobilisingand working with indigenous communitystructures, the rest of the world has borroweda language of US CP. For example, the USnotion of empowerment, although framed inconcepts like participation, capacity buildingand engagement reflects the desire to workwith communities, the language still has thenuance of professional intervention.While there are references to criticaltheory in the development of CP, the need forcritical stance this is only argued for moreovertly in a few chapters, such as from theUS, Germany, Italy and in the editorssummary, for example. The US chapter(Angelique & Culley) is interesting in that itis presented from a feminist perspective andhas the ring of critical theory embedded in it.The importance of maintaining a criticalperspective is not elaborated as thisfrequently as it should. CP arose out ofcritical thought and needs to maintain thatperspective, as David Fryer frequentlyreminds us. It is also emphasises theimportance of understanding, and beingcritical, of our values and worldviews. Just asthese psychological phenomena are useful indeconstructing the nature of social issues theyshould also be tools for understanding ourrole in society.A glaring example of the opportunitiesa collection of essays like the ones presentedhere is a critical deconstruction of the notionof community. The issue of what constitutescommunity is addressed by a number ofchapter authors and is reiterated in thesummary. Implicit in much of the writing isthat the received wisdom about community isbased on European and North Americannotions. Even in Turkey, Degirmencioglupoints out that the concept of community hasbeen tainted historically by the rapidsecularisation imposed after the fall of theOttoman Empire and community wasassociated with banned religiouscommunities. Even here the issue of the termis seen as important. In many cases theconcept of community arose as ajuxtaposition to dictatorship or oppression, asThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Book review100in Latin America (Montero & Díaz; Saforcadaet al.), Spain (Martin & López) and SouthAfrica (Bhana, Petersen & Rochat), forexample. In Greece CP is thought of as ‘goinginto the community’, as a process (Triliva &Marvakis). In Norway, community is thedumping ground for de-institutionalisation(Carlquist, Nafstad & Blakar). Francescatao,Arcidiacono, Albanesi and Mannarini doembark on a definition of community andprovide a voice of where one useful debate canoccur. It is unfortunate that North Americannotions of community dominate usage as itdoes not serve critical debate well. As adiscipline we need to address our assumptionsabout community. It appears to be largely anall embracing term which is not wellunderstood. It appears to be a word that is wellunderstood at a preconscious level, yet is notwell articulated in theory. Cultural insightsfrom the 22 regions could provide a valuableway to deconstruct the notion of community asDudgeon, Mallard, Oxenham and Fielder(2002) indicated. A good place to begin thispotential research program would be for acareful analysis of how the term is usedthroughout this book.It would be unfair and inappropriate tojudgmental of the editors for not addressingsuch issues as the aim was to explore thediversity of the discipline across the globe. Thestructure and space limit what can be achieved.Rather this book provides insights into thevarieties of approaches that have becomeknown as CP. It is a robust book and is interms of what it sets out to do, it does it well.ReferencesDalton, J. H., Elias, M. J., & Wandersman, A.(2001). Community psychology: Linkingindividuals and communities. Belmont,CA: Wadsworth.Dudgeon, P., Mallard, J., Oxenham, D., &Fielder, J. (2002). ContemporaryAboriginal perceptions of community. InT. A. Fisher, C. C. Sonn, & B. J. Bishop(Eds.), Psychological sense of community:Research, applications, and implications(pp. 247-270). New York, KluwerAcademic / Plenum Publishers.Reiff, R. (1968). Social intervention and theproblem of psychological analysis.American Psychologist, 23, 524‐531.Sarason, S. B. (1982). Psychology and socialaction: Selected papers. New York:Praeger.Walsh, N. (1999). World philosophies.London: Routledge.The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Manuscript preparation101Preparation, Submission and Publication ofManuscriptsThe Australian Community Psychologistpublishes work that is of relevance tocommunity psychologists and others interestedin the field. Research reports should bemethodologically sound. Theoretical or areareview papers are welcomed, as are letters,brief reports and papers by newer contributorsto the discipline. Contributions towards thefour sections of the journal are sought.The Australian Community Psychologist ispublished twice per year and online and isavailable via the website of the AustralianPsychological Society’s College ofCommunity Psychologists’ page (http://www.groups.psychology.org.au/GroupContext.aspx?ID=883).ArticlesContributions that are state of the art reviewsof professional and applied areas and reviewsand essays on matters of general relevance tocommunity psychologists. They are between4,000 and 10,000 words, including all tables,figures and references.Research ReportsThis section is for the publication of empiricalresearch reports relevant to communitypsychologists. They are between 4,000 and10,000 words, including all tables, figures andreferences.Practice IssuesThis section publishes individual manuscriptsand collections of manuscripts which addressmatters of general, professional and publicrelevance, techniques and approaches inpsychological practice, professionaldevelopment issues, and professional andpublic policy issues.Book ReviewsThe journal publishes book reviews of up to1,000 words. Books reviewed relate directly tothe major areas of practice in communitypsychology.Review and Publication of ManuscriptsThe acceptable word processing programmeformat is Microsoft Word. All manuscripts areto be submitted electronically to the:EditorLauren BreenEmail: l.breen@ecu.edu.auIf authors experience any difficulty withelectronic submission, hard copy materialstogether with a disc copy should be sent to:Dr Lauren BreenCentre for Social ResearchSchool of Psychology and Social ScienceEdith Cowan University270 Joondalup DriveJOONDALUP WA 6027AustraliaAll contributions, including book reviews arehandled by an appropriately qualified AssociateEditor and all contributions are blind-reviewed.Articles submitted for review must be originalworks and may not be under considerationelsewhere.It is a condition of publication that authorsassign the copyright of their articles to theAustralian Psychological Society.All manuscripts for consideration forpublication in The Australian CommunityPsychologist must be formatted according to theinstructions for authors below.Instructions for AuthorsThe following constitutes advice to contributorsthat is relevant generally to all journal sections.Every submission must include:1. A cover letter stating the section of thejournal to which the author(s) wish to submitthe article.2. The complete manuscript including titleThe Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Manuscript preparation102page, abstract, text, tables, acknowledgements,references and illustrations.Written permission from the publisher(copyright holder) to reproduce any previouslypublished tables, illustrations or photographs.Manuscripts should be arranged as follows:Title pageAbstract and keywordsTextAcknowledgementsDisclosures if requiredReferencesShort biography of author/sAddress for correspondence from readers(e.g., an email address)Tables and figures should be placed in thecorrect position within the body of the text.Number pages consecutively, beginning withthe Title page as page 1.Sections of the ManuscriptTitle Page should contain:Title: Should be short and informative.Recommended length is between 10 and12 words.Running Head: Short title with a maximumof 50 charactersAuthor: This should include the author’sname in the preferred form of givenname, family name.Institution and Affiliations: This identifiesthe location where the author(s)undertook the investigation.Corresponding Author: Provide the name,exact postal address with post code,telephone number, fax number and emailaddress of the author to whomcommunications and requests for reprintsshould be sent.Specific Formatting RequirementsPaper Size, Margins, AlignmentA4 page, ALL margins 2.5cm.SpacingAll text double spacing, left aligned (notjustified) unless otherwise specified.Font & SizeTimes New Roman, 12pt unless otherwisespecified.Paper Title14pt, bold, centred, sentence case.Place one line after the paper title.Abstract and Keywords12pt, italics, left aligned.Place one blank line before and after theabstract.The abstract must be no more than 200 words.Place up to 6 (six) keywords.Normal Text12pt, Times New Roman double line-spacing,left aligned (not justified)Do not leave line spaces between paragraphsbut indent the first line of each paragraph.Long Quotes (roughly, quotes of 30 words ormore)12pt, italics, indented 1 cm left and right1st Level HeadingSentence case, bold, centred, not italics.1st Level of Subheading12pt, italics, sentence case, left aligned.Leave one line space before this level ofsubheading.Do not number subheadings.2nd Level of Subheading12pt, italics, sentence case, left aligned. Textshould continue on the same line.Leave one line space before this level ofsubheading.Tables, Figures, and DiagramsCaptions in 12pt and typed below the figure, asrequired by Publication Manual of theAmerican Psychological Association FifthEdition. These should be black and white andinserted in the correct place within the body ofthe text. Do not allow a figure or table to besplit over two pages or to be separated from itslabel or caption.Diagrams, illustrations, graphs, etc, must be'screen readable'. This means fully legible andreadable on screen when displayed at widthsthat ideally do not exceed about 750 pixels andcertainly should not exceed 1000 pixels.The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


Manuscript preparation103Page NumbersInsert page numbers at the top of the page,right aligned, beginning with the title page.FootnotesAvoid using footnotes.References and CitationsUse the Publication Manual of the AmericanPsychological Association Fifth Editioncitation and reference style. List referencesunder the 1st level subheading,The Australian Community Psychologist Volume 20 No 2 December 2008


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