Indigenous Racial Identity and Self Esteem (IRISE)

The IRISE Project aims to explore the development of racial identity and related self-esteem of Aboriginal children, youth and adults across the life span.  It is the intention of this research to describe the mediating factors of racial identity and related self-esteem that influence Aboriginal people’s mental wellbeing. This project proposes to strengthen the social, cultural and emotional well being of Aboriginal children aged 4-12 years, youth aged 13-17 and adults from 18 years onwards.


A measure for non-Aboriginal carers of Aboriginal children (PAPC) has also been designed to understand the level of knowledge and perception non-Aboriginal carers/parents have about their child’s Aboriginal identity and culture.  The importance of transmission of identity from parent/carer to child is extremely important to bi-racial children and it is envisaged that the PAPC will provide some answers about what non-Aboriginal parents/carers know and do for about the Aboriginal identity of their child.

Surveys and interviews have been collected in 3 geographical settings in Western Australia: (1) Urban (Swan); (2) Rural (Kalgoorlie); and (3). Regional (Peel)

We have exceeded most of our targets. Over 500 participants have been involved in the project and these included Aboriginal children (8-12 years), youth (13-17 years) and adults (18+ years). Non-Aboriginal carers of Aboriginal children also participated in the IRISE project.

We are currently working with very young Aboriginal children aged 4-7 years to develop an IRISE inventory which is age specific.