Alcohol and other drug (AOD) and related harm among college students is a major national and Tribal concern, and is associated with numerous American Indians/Alaska Natives (AIAN) health disparities: unintentional injuries (149% higher), homicide (92% higher) and suicide (72% higher). However, there is no available social epidemiological data on the prevalence and correlates of AOD or other mental health concerns among AIAN students attending Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU). The present study is an expansion of a 3-year program of community-based participatory research (CBPR) focused on AOD issues in TCU. It is a partnership between the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, 31 TCUs, and 3 research centers at the University of Washington.
Specific Aims are: (1) Survey a representative sample of TCU students (N=1200) to determine the prevalence of AOD and mental health disorders, and apply an Indigenous stress and coping model to examine how AIAN specific risk and protective factors influence AOD abuse and outcomes, (2) Obtain ethnographic data necessary to culturally contextualize the results of the previous aims, and (3) disseminate study findings broadly and work to eliminate health disparities by translating the findings into policy and practice guidelines for stakeholders. The study design consists of a simple random sample survey of 1,200 students at 31 TCUs with a 4-step process: 1) work with the partnership research team, finalize the survey instrument and the sampling frame;2) pilot the survey in a small sample to catch potential problems, estimate time to complete the survey, ensure that the technology and informed consent procedures work, etc.;3) conduct the Web-based survey;4) convene a subgroup of the Scientific and Community Advisory Committees and research teams for data analysis, and review and plan the qualitative follow up for clarification of survey results, and conduct focus groups with TCU faculty, staff, and students to contextualize the finding. The results will shape and guide intervention development and adaptation to address the identified AOD issues of TCU students.
This will be the first-ever epidemiological study of drug, alcohol and other substance abuse at TCUs. Results of this study will provide quantitative, empirical evidence to buttress heretofore anecdotal narratives, as well as provide direction to future pilot intervention programs to combat drug, alcohol and other substance abuse problems among TCU students.
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