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Discrimination and participation in traditional healing for American Indians and Alaska Natives

TitleDiscrimination and participation in traditional healing for American Indians and Alaska Natives
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsMoghaddam, JF, Momper, SL, Fong, T
JournalJ Community HealthJ Community Health
Volume38
Pagination1115-23
Date PublishedDec
ISBN Number1573-3610 (Electronic)<br/>0094-5145 (Linking)
Accession Number23821254
KeywordsAdolescent, Adult, Aged, Alaska/ethnology, Female, Great Lakes Region/ethnology, Humans, Indians, North American/ psychology, Inuits/ psychology, Logistic Models, Male, Medicine, Traditional/ utilization, Middle Aged, Qualitative Research, Questionnaires, Social Discrimination/ ethnology, Young Adult
AbstractContemporary American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIs/ANs) who live in urban areas today face the daunting task of navigating an urban landscape while maintaining the facets of their respective Native cultures. While AIs/ANs continue to grapple with the intergenerational trauma associated with forced assimilation, relocation movements, and boarding schools, these traumas have manifested themselves in elevated rates of psychopathology. AIs/ANs have elevated rates of domestic abuse, poverty, suicide, and substance misuse. Furthermore, AIs/ANs, like many other minority cultures often face discrimination in their everyday lives. In light of the aversive experiences they face, AI/AN people have followed the tenets of ritual and traditional healing to address imbalances in the body, mind, and spirit. For providers working with AI/AN clients, it is important to understand who is using traditional healing and why they are using alternative services. Secondary data analyses of survey data from 389 urban AIs/ANs were utilized in order to determine the relationship between experiences of discrimination and traditional healing use. Analyses indicated that experiences of discrimination in healthcare settings were significantly associated with participation in traditional healing. Analyses also indicated that nearly a quarter of the sample reported discrimination in a healthcare setting, roughly half of the sample had used traditional healing, and that the majority of those who had used traditional healing were women, and ages 35-44 (27%). This study calls attention to the socio-demographic factors implicated in traditional healing use by urban AI/AN people, in addition to the clinical and demographic characteristics of this sample.
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