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Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

The relative influence of protective factors in quantitative models of American Indian and Alaska Native adolescents.

Author: Barney, D.D.
Author Background:
Date 1/1/99
Type Dissertation
Journal Title: Univ. of Kansas, PhD
Volume/Pages 35(2), 1999, No. 1012
Subject Matter Native Americans
Abstract American Indian and Alaska Native adolescents comprise a population at-risk from a variety of psychosocial risk factors that could benefit from the identification of protective factors. This dissertation specifically studied ifprotective factors of caring and connectedness and help seeking influenced self-perceived health status for American Indian and Alaska Native adolescents. Structural equation models were created with LISREL from asample of 12,284 American Indian and Alaska Native adolescents from the ages of 12 to 19. The sample was non-random, but national in scope and represented only adolescents living on or near reservations or villages. A totalof four models were developed with each focusing on a problem area of adolescence; alcohol use, delinquent behavior, depression, and suicidal ideation. Findings indicated that an adolescent s increased perception of being cared-for and feeling connected also increased the level of the adolescent s self-perceived health status. Thus, there appeared to be a protective factor mechanism. Help seeking, on the other hand, failed to serve as a protectivefunction. Social work interventions focusing on enhancement of an adolescent s sense of being cared-for and connected to parents and other adults may be beneficial for this high risk population.