The construction and experience of Indigenous Nations identity: Implications for well-being and academic persistence
Delgado-Torres, Elizabeth U.
University of Kansas
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In a questionnaire study among 187 students at Haskell Indian Nations University (Lawrence, KS, USA), the author investigated whether Indigenous Nations identities can be a potential resource for well-being. Following previous work (Adams, Fryberg, Garcia, & Delgado-Torres, 2006), the study considered three dimensions of variation in Indigenous Nations identity—(a) content of preferred self-representation (Tribal Nations or Pan-ethnic group representation), (b) degree of identification with an Indigenous Nations group, and (c) context of engagement (reservation or non-reservation living experience)—and its relationship to measures of health and school persistence. Consistent with hypotheses for content, Tribal Nations self-identification was associated with lower stress, anxiety levels, fewer depressive and somatic-type symptoms, and higher appearance and social self-esteem. However, these findings were limited to women, perhaps reflecting comfort level in symptom expression or other gender role differences. Concerning degree of identification, participants who reported greater interests in exploring their ethnicities and indicated greater involvement and participation in the social practices of their group reported greater performance and social self-esteem. Positive attitudes toward the group and a greater sense of group belonging were also related to higher performance self-esteem. A preference for tribal nations self-representations among participants was associated with decisions to persist to graduate from Haskell.
Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of Kansas, Psychology, 2007.
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