Aboriginal Policy Research Consortium International (APRCi)

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Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment

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The increasing demand for alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment services among the Australian Indigenous population, complex organisational challenges and limitations, and high unemployment rates are likely to negatively impact Indigenous AOD workers' health and well-being. Building the capacity of Indigenous AOD workers is vital, as they play a crucial role in the delivery of treatment services and offer essential support to their communities. A national online survey was conducted to examine organisational, workplace and individual factors that might contribute to levels of stress and well-being among workers who provide services to Indigenous clients. A total of 294 eligible surveys were completed; 184 (63%) from Indigenous and 108 (37%) from non-Indigenous AOD workers. Multiple regression models were conducted to assess the significant predictors of mental health and well-being, job satisfaction, emotional exhaustion, and turnover intention. Indigenous AOD workers typically experienced above average levels of job satisfaction and relatively low levels of emotional exhaustion. However, 1 in 10 reported high levels of emotional exhaustion, a key predictor of turnover intention. Indigenous workers also experienced significantly lower levels of mental health and well-being and greater work/family imbalance, which was a significant contributor to emotional exhaustion. The findings highlight the importance of implementing workforce development strategies that focus on achieving culturally appropriate, equitable and supportive organisational conditions for Indigenous AOD workers. Preventing or managing levels of stress, ensuring adequate and equitable salaries and benefits, and providing more opportunities for career and personal growth may increase job satisfaction and reduce turnover intention among Indigenous workers in the drug and alcohol field.

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