Health Promotion Journal of Australia Health Promotion Journal of Australia Society
Journal of the Australian Health Promotion Association
Table of Contents
Health Promotion Journal of Australia

Health Promotion Journal of Australia

Volume 26 Number 3 2015

Ethics and Health Promotion


Quality assurance and evaluation, by seeking to improve policies, programs and outcomes, are essential health promotion activities. This paper highlights the importance the NHMRC’s National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research for the development of ethical health promotion quality assurance and evaluation projects involving human participants. Application of the National Statement’s guidance when developing a project proposal will increase the likelihood of the proposal receiving formal ethics committee approval.

HE15068Beyond Chapter 4.7

Lilon Gretl Bandler
pp. 186-190

In 2015, it is essential that research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians is ethical. Guidance is provided by the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. Could the Statement’s principles be extended to other research work?


Tools for measuring QoL in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations are often derived from research methodologies shaped by Western cultural viewpoints. The use of Indigenist or Indigenous methodologies that are more culturally acceptable and more likely to facilitate the articulation of social and emotional perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people may be more appropriate for the development of QoL tools.


This paper aims to unpack the ethics of empowerment in health promotion. The paper draws on insights from a qualitative study examining young people’s perspectives on health and priorities for health promotion. Study findings revealed young people’s different priorities for health and health promotion. The analysis here highlights how these alternative perspectives raise some tricky questions about the ethics of empowerment.


The notion of empowerment is central to proposals of healthcare reforms across Europe and worldwide, and has attracted several ethical criticisms. Building upon the identification of two historically distinct understandings of empowerment (i.e. radical and new wave empowerment), the paper identifies three ethical issues in need of scrutiny: one regarding the role of paternalistic interferences in empowerment, a second related to the value of health-related goals in empowerment strategies; and a third concerning the unwanted consequences of the emphasis on responsibility for health in recent uses of the concept.

HE15047A missing ethical competency? A review of critical reflection in health promotion

Rebecca Tretheway, Jane Taylor, Lily O'Hara and Nikki Percival
pp. 216-221

Critical practice is an ethical imperative for health promotion. This narrative literature review identifies the extent to which critical reflection has been explored in health promotion, and critiques relevant critical reflection models. Critical reflection has not been thoroughly explored in health promotion and is missing from Australian and international competencies. A critical reflection model for health promotion needs to be developed and articulated as a core health promotion competency.


Ethical reflection is integral to good health promotion practice and never simply the province of theorists. This article describes the capacity-building activities that were undertaken to prompt and guide ethical reflection amongst health promotion practitioners in rural South Australia from 2006 to 2014. It also presents a framework that health promotion practitioners can use to structure their ethical reflection, especially in the current absence of a formal code of ethics.

HE15050Navigating the ethics of cross-cultural health promotion research

Greer Lamaro Haintz, Melissa Graham and Hayley McKenzie
pp. 235-240

This paper discusses examples from cross-cultural health promotion research in Australian and international settings where negotiation was required to address the needs of institutional ethics requirements and governing bodies, and the communities in which the studies were carried out. It highlights issues for consideration to advance more culturally appropriate practice in research ethics and suggests ways a stronger anthropological lens can be applied to research ethics to address these challenges.

HE14101Ethical considerations in investigating youth alcohol norms and behaviours: a case for mature minor consent

J. Hildebrand, B. Maycock, J. Comfort, S. Burns, E. Adams and P. Howat
pp. 241-245

Ethically, not all research with youth requires parental consent. This paper describes the process used to determine and obtain mature minor consent from 14–17-year-old male and female participants to enable then to provide data on their alcohol use, beliefs, attitudes and harms. Other researchers should consider the potential risks and benefits of this method in relation to their own research.


Health promotion practitioners are responsible for implementing public health initiatives in the ‘war on obesity’, but questions have been raised about the extent to which such initiatives are consistent with ethical practice. We examined 10 Australian initiatives and found that they did not reflect the ethical values and principles of critical health promotion.

HE15052An ethical approach to health promotion in physiotherapy practice

Clare Delany, Caroline Fryer and Gisela van Kessel
pp. 255-262

Bringing public health promotion messages into the individual treatment encounter is a growing part of physiotherapy practice. This paper proposes ethical principles for incorporating health promotion ideas into communication and treatment approaches with individual clients. A key message is that in primary practice situations, health professionals need to be mindful of each client’s unique circumstances, and their ability and readiness to adjust and respond to public health promotion ideals.


This paper describes problems with reliance on randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to identify effective health promotion interventions because the achievement of effectiveness comes at the cost of sacrificing human autonomy. The paper argues that human autonomy must be one of the most important and overriding goals of health promotion because it is intrinsic to the definition and meaning of human well being.

Health Promotion Workforce

Adjunct Professor Trevor Shilton discusses the importance of the virtual issue on the Health Promotion Workforce.

Award Winners

Congratulations to Kristiann C. Heesch and Michael Langdon, winners of the Ray James Award for 2017. And congratulations also to L. Wolfenden, M. Kingsland, B. Rowland, P. Dodds, M. Sidey, S. Sherker and J. Wiggers for their highly-commended paper.

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