The Dilemma of Disempowerment

How Generational Trauma Impacts Alcohol Abuse Rates in the Australian Aboriginal Community


  • Mahima Krishnamoorthi Stanford University


anthropology, public health, indigenous health, australia, alcohol abuse, structural violence


The diverse aboriginal populations within Australia share an unfortunate link – significant health disparities relative to the non-indigenous population. Australian aboriginal communities not only have higher rates of physical illness, but also a high prevalence of mental illness, specifically addiction to drugs and alcohol. This paper will explore the causes behind this health inequality, as well as the current methods of treatment that are being implemented, and their cultural competency. This paper argues the necessity for evidence based biomedical strategies that work alongside indigenous care. The paper further asserts the importance of the comprehensive evaluations of these programs to ensure their longevity and prolonged success. The conclusions of this examination into substance abuse finds a prolonged history of devaluing, dominating and displacing a large group of people, which can push individuals, years later, to abuse alcohol and drugs. Specifically, the connection between personal and structural violence is made within the analysis, demonstrating that a potential connecting force exists between different Aboriginal groups, with important intergenerational ramifications.






Humanities and Social Sciences