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Systematic Review ARTICLE

Front. Public Health | doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2019.00351

A systematic scoping review of school-based resilience interventions for Indigenous adolescents in CANZUS nations Provisionally accepted The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon. Notify me

  • 1Centre for Indigenous Health Equity Research, School of Health, Medicine and Applied Sciences, Central Queensland University, Australia

Background: The concept of resilience offers a strengths-based framework for interventions to enhance Indigenous adolescent social and emotional wellbeing. Resilience interventions in or with schools encompass individual, social and environmental factors that encourage health promoting behaviours and assist adolescents to navigate toward resources that can sustain their health and wellbeing in times of adversity. This scoping review examined the literature about resilience-enhancing interventions for Indigenous adolescent students in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States (CANZUS nations). Intervention strategies, adherence to theoretical constructs and outcomes were analysed.
Methods: A systematic search was conducted of intervention studies aimed at improving Indigenous adolescent resilience and published in CANZUS nations between January 1990 and May 2016. Eleven peer-reviewed databases and 11 websites and clearing houses were searched for relevant studies. Following double blinded screening, a total of 16 intervention papers were included for analysis. Study characteristics were identified, and study quality was assessed using appropriate assessment tools.
Results: Twelve interventions (75%) were delivered in school settings and four (25%) were community-based, conducted in partnership with schools. Seven publications (44%) reported interventions focused exclusively on fostering individual resilience. Another seven (44%) included components that aimed to build staff, school and/or community capacity to support adolescent resilience; and two (12.5%) had community/school capacity building as the primary focus. Culturally based approaches to enhancing resilience were evident in most studies (81%). The publications documented use of a range of program models, processes and activities aligned with resilience theory. Positive outcomes were reported for improved individual assets (e.g. strengthened self-esteem and Indigenous identity), environmental resources (e.g. increased peer support and social/community connection) and increased community capacity (e.g. increased youth training and leadership opportunities). On average, study quality was assessed as moderate to high. The strongest evidence of intervention effectiveness was for improvements in mental health symptoms and outcomes.
Conclusion: Interventions indicated strong alignment with ecological and culturally based resilience theories and models. While the results of studies indicate some positive impacts on the resilience of Indigenous adolescents, future evaluations should aim to ensure high study quality and focus on measuring strengths-based resilience outcomes.

Keywords: resilience, community capacity, Intervention research, Health and Wellbeing, indigenous adolescents

Received: 14 Apr 2018; Accepted: 05 Nov 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Jongen, McCalman and Bainbridge. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Ms. Crystal S. Jongen, Central Queensland University, Centre for Indigenous Health Equity Research, School of Health, Medicine and Applied Sciences, Rockhampton, 4702, Queensland, Australia,