The specific aim of this proposed project is to collect oral life histories from American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) in ttie Pacific Northwest (PNW) to begin to better understand sobriety processes, both protective and recovery, in order to better infomi prevention and treatment efforts for AIAN tribal members and communities. There is a critical lack of literature describing how AI/AN's recover from alcohol and other drug abuse problems. Also missing from the literature is infomiation on how many, If not most, AI/AN's never develop a substance abuse problem. Anecdotally, it appears that traditional cultural beliefs and practices contribute to and support the sobriety process;this wan-ants further study and is the primary focus ofthe proposed qualitative study.
The specific aims of the study are to (1) Collaborate with Tribal communities in the Pacific Northwest to develop and implement oral life history questionnaires for better understanding the sobriety processes of AI/AN's in the PNW;(2) collaborate with Tribal communities in the PNW to develop or adapt a culturally appropriate inventory of negative consequences associated with substance use to confinn sobriety category of participants;(3) train Native students and professionals to conduct ethical, respectful, scientifically sound research in Indian Country;and (4) use Digital Storytelling to create visual and oral stories of sobriety and wellness for use in Native communities. Guided by a Community Advisory Board and using community-based participatory research methods, 60 individuals in participating communities who either never have developed problems with alcohol or drugs or who have had problems in the past but have been alcohol or drug free will be interviewed by trained NWIC student research assistants using semistructured oral life history questionnaires. The stories will be captured visually and orally via Digital Storytelling and the oral stories will be transcribed and entered into Atlas.ti, a qualitative data program, and analyzed using grounded theory analysis to identify themes of personal and community factors that have been instrumental in resisting or recovering from substance use disorders. This information will be used to guide the development of culturally relevant and community-based prevention and treatment strategies.

Public Health Relevance

Alcohol and drug abuse and dependence represent major problems for AI/AN individuals and their communities. While much research has focused on the nature and scope of substance use disorders among AI/AN individuals, much less is known about factors that contribute to successful recovery or never having developed problems withnalcohot or drugs among this population. The present study will information about reslliencv anri recovery factors and inform development of orevention and treatment strategies. ^

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Project (R01)
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Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-DIG-A (50))
Program Officer
Etz, Kathleen
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Northwest Indian College
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Rasmus, Stacy; Allen, James; Connor, William et al. (2016) Native Transformations in the Pacific Northwest: A strength-based model of protection against substance use disorder. Am Indian Alsk Native Ment Health Res 23:158-86