Authors: Howard, K.1,2, Garvey, G.3,Anderson, K.3  Dickson, M.2,4,Viney, R.5,Ratcliffe, J.6, Howell, M.,1,2 Gall, A.3, Cunningham, J.,7 Whop, L.J.8, Cass, A.,7 Jaure, A.,2 Mulhern, B.5
Affiliations:
1 Menzies Centre for Health Policy and Economics, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, NSW, 2006, Australia
2 Sydney School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, NSW, 2006, Australia
3 The First Nations Cancer & Wellbeing Research Team, The School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane Qld 4072, Australia
4 The Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, NSW, 2006, Australia
5 The Centre for Health Economics Research and Evaluation (CHERE), University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, NSW, 2007, Australia
6 Caring Futures Institute, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA, 5001, Australia
7 Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin University, Darwin NT, Australia
8 National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, College of Health and Medicine, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, 2600, Australia

Summary:

Increasingly, clinicians, researchers and policy makers are interested in measuring wellbeing (or quality of life) to inform policy and practice. However, most existing wellbeing measures are grounded within Western, often biomedical, constructs, and fail to account for cultural differences in the conception and experience of wellbeing. This makes them less useful for assessing wellbeing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations and may result in misalignment of health policies and programs which could perpetuate or exacerbate existing health inequities.
This paper describes the development of a measure of wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults – the What Matters to Adults (WM2A) measure. While usual approaches to the development of culturally specific wellbeing measures have typically relied on the translation and adaptation of items or formats from existing measures, the WM2A brings together Indigenist methodologies with commonly used psychometric approaches to develop a measure that is underpinned by the voices and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The result is a culturally and psychometrically robust measure that directly captures the critical dimensions of wellbeing relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The WM2A measure can be scored using summative scoring to produce a single overall score (which assumes all items carry equal weight), with research ongoing to develop a preference-based scoring algorithm to capture the relative weighting of different items and their contribution to wellbeing.
It is envisaged that the WM2A measure will be used to inform the evaluation of health, social and community programs, as well as in local and national data collection surveys to provide cross-sectional and longitudinal assessments of the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults.