Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Grand Forks, North Dakota » Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center » Healthy Body Weight Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #133343


item Gray, Jacqueline

Submitted to: American Psychological Association Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/22/2002
Publication Date: 8/22/2002
Citation: Gray, J.S., Jacobs, S.C., Telander, R.L., Morin, P. American Indian Cultural Identification (NPBI), Spirituality (INSPIRIT-R) and Health. Presented at 100th Annual American Psychological Association (APA) Convention, Chicago, IL, Aug 22-25, 2002.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Relationships have been found between spirituality/religiosity and health/mental health. However, few have investigated that relationship among American Indians. The forced loss of traditional components of Indian life (through warfare, acculturation, boarding schools, missionaries, and commodity food items) is a well-known precursor for health problems such as substance abuse, adolescent suicide or diabetes. Spiritual/religious loss has been viewed as a major contributor to increases in alcoholism and escapist/ exploitative lifestyles among Native people. Researchers have been reluctant to accept the idea that culture and Indian spirituality may be important to the prevention/treatment of alcohol problems, even though native treatment approaches appear successful. This may be because of the difficulty inherent in researching the diversity of social/cultural traditions among tribes, the significant cultural differences between American Indians and the larger society, and/or the lack of standardized, valid measures of spirituality for particular American Indian populations. Our purpose in this study was to collect data on a measure of spirituality and a measure of American Indian Cultural Identification. Secondarily, we wanted to investigate the relationship between spirituality, cultural identity and health among Northern Plains Indians. Partipants were 120 Northern Plains Indians over age 18 years (89 women, 31 men) attending pow-wows and other cultural events. Representing 16 tribal groups or bands, the majority (n=109) were grouped into Chippewa (n=44), Sioux (n=24), and Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara (41). Mean age was 36.7 yrs (sd=11.7 yrs), ranging from 18-66 yrs. Education ranged from not finishing high school (n=4) to graduate degree (n=14), with 46 finishing high school, and 54 completing a college or professional degree. Primary religious affiliations were Catholic (n=44), Native American Church (n=38), and none (n=20), with Congregational, Episcopal, Baptist, Mormon, and Protestant represented. Seventy-one participants were currently employed, 40 were homemakers, volunteers, or students, and 7 were unemployed or retired. Participants were solicited through a pow-wow booth, other events, and through snowball sampling. They completed 3 brief self-report questionnaires that took approximately 30 minutes. Participants had the option of filling out the questionaires themselves or being asked the questions verbally. The Index of Core Spiritual Experience (INSPIRIT-R; Kass, et al. 1991) is a self-report instrument designed to assess an individual's spirituality. Developed on individuals from various religious and spiritual backgrounds, it has been used in studies examing health outcomes. The INSPIRIT-R score is the mean with no missing values for 7 questions with a range of 1 to 4 with 4 indicating a higher level of spirituality. The data are not normed. In another study, we explored with traditional Northern Plains Indian healers or spiritual leaders possible modifications of the INSPIRIT-R to make it culturally sensitive and accurately assess spirituality. Based upon this, minor modifications were made, specifically the addition of an eighth question, "Indicate whether you agree or disagree with this statement: "God (the spiritual core) dwells within all that surrounds you." We initially scored that question separately from the other 7. Northern Plains Biculturalism Inventory (NPBI; Allen & French, 1994) is a 30-item measure of identification with Northern Plains American Indian and European-American culture. The NPBI includes 3 scales: American Indian Cultural Identification (AICI), European American Cultural Identification (EACI) and Language. The AICI and EACI scales have an orthogonal relationship, resulting in the assignment of 1 of 4 possible identification categories: bicultural, American Indian identificatio