Early adolescent AI/ANs enrolled in middle schools in urban settings are at risk for a number of behavioral health risk factors, including elevated depression, anxiety, and substance use; less school belongingness; and increased discrimination. Approximately 70% of AI/ANs live outside of tribal reservations and within urban areas, where they generally have less familial and social support (Castor et al., 2006). Urbanization of AI/ANs has resulted from forced relocation (e.g., the Indian Relocation Act of 1956) and increased opportunities for education and employment in urban areas (Jackson, 2002; Wendt & Gone, 2012). Urbanization has resulted in poverty that is on par with poverty on reservations and considerably higher than in the general urban population (Dickerson & Johnson, 2010). Compared to their counterparts on reservations, urban AI/AN adolescents have less familial and social support, fewer opportunities to engage in traditional cultural practices, and less access to culturally appropriate health care services (Castor et al., 2006; Evans-Campbell, Lindhorst, Huang, & Walters, 2006). (Serafini, K., PhD., Donovan, D. M., PhD., Wendt, D. C., PhD., Matsumiya, B., B.A., & McCarty, C. A., PhD. (2017). A COMPARISON OF EARLY ADOLESCENT BEHAVIORAL HEALTH RISKS AMONG URBAN AMERICAN INDIANS/ALASKA NATIVES AND THEIR PEERS. American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research (Online), 24(2), 1-17. Retrieved from http://login.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/docview/2063292754?accountid=4485)
A stronger sense of school belongingness is a protective factor against substance use for AI/AN youth, with a lower lifetime report of alcohol and cigarette use, lower frequency of alcohol and cigarettes, fewer substances ever used, and a later age of drug use initiation (Napoli, Marsiglia, & Kulis, 2003). These findings are consistent with research showing that lower school involvement is associated with increased substance use among AI/AN youth (Friese, Grube, & Seninger, 2015). Perceived discrimination, another aspect of social integration, has been found to be strongly associated with depressive symptoms among AI/AN adults (Whitbeck, McMorris, Hoyt, Stubben, & LaFromboise, 2002). There is also empirical support that discrimination may be an independent risk factor for substance use (LaFromboise, Hoyt, Oliver, & Whitbeck, 2006). There are also indications that perceived discrimination affects psychosocial functioning among AI/AN youth. For example, perceived discrimination has been linked to early substance use initiation among AI/ANs in 5th through 8th grade (Whitbeck, Hoyt, McMorris, Chen, & Stubben, 2001). )Serafini, K., PhD., Donovan, D. M., PhD., Wendt, D. C., PhD., Matsumiya, B., B.A., & McCarty, C. A., PhD. (2017). A COMPARISON OF EARLY ADOLESCENT BEHAVIORAL HEALTH RISKS AMONG URBAN AMERICAN INDIANS/ALASKA NATIVES AND THEIR PEERS. American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research (Online), 24(2), 1-17. Retrieved from http://login.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/docview/2063292754?accountid=4485)
IINII uses a revolutionary Design Thinking process to help your school community gain an understanding of one’s sense of self, as well as developing an understanding of students’ and parents’ values; having an understanding of one’s values matters because research has shown that it is linked to better well-being, less stress, and increased confidence in one’s ability to succeed.
Understanding students’ values can be developed with culturally sustaining practices that reflect a student’s identity and experience. Particularly helpful is focusing efforts on cultural competence and relevance and providing opportunities for students to practice bridging differences between diverse identities in a safe environment. To learn how you can create a dynamic youth-centered environment that honors the unique values of your students and parents, visit our website at www.iinii.org, or contact us at email@example.com or 1800-507-2502.