Online Program

Connectiveness as a Protective Concept among American Indians

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 11:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

Felicia Schanche Hodge, DrPH, School of Nursing, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Suzanne Kotkin-Jaszi, DrPH, Department of Public Health, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA
A cross-sectional survey explores factors associated connectiveness among American Indian (AI) adults (N=459) at 13 rural reservation sites in California. Participants responded to a survey about their health and wellness perceptions. A measure of “connectiveness” was developed and was used to assess wellness perceptions. A predictive model for wellness was built using a generalized regression model. Connectiveness was defined and measured as identity, social ties, cultural events participation and native language use.

Eight constructs were assessed in characteristics between cultural connectivity and individuals reporting good versus poor wellness. Chi-squared and Fisher’s exact tests were used to assess associations between wellness and other categorical/binary variables. Regarding cultural connectivity, the poor wellness group differed in their ability to speak their tribal language (17% vs. 29%, p=.02), participating in AI practices (45% vs. 62%, p=.001) and feeling connected to community (76% vs. 86%, p=.022). The groups were similar in being active in the community, having at least 50% Indian blood quantum and being enrolled in a tribe. There was marginal difference in their satisfaction with their religious/spiritual lives (84% in the poor wellness group vs. 91% in the good wellness group, p=.07).

The concept of connectiveness, defined as identity, social ties, participation and Native language, was shown to be a strong protective factor associated with good wellness perceptions. Efforts to improve wellness among American Indians should include culturally sensitive interventions that utilize constructs of “connectiveness” such as social events and culture-specific activities.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify connectiveness factors associated with wellness perceptions among American Indians. Discuss connectiveness and strategies for developing a culturally appropriate education to improve connective practices among American Indians.

Keyword(s): Native Americans, Wellness

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the PI of multiple federally funded grants that focus on prevention, symptom management and cultural constructs of chronic illness in American Indian populations and have conducted research for over 40 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.