Addiction in American Indian Adults and the Role of Early Social Context


Addiction in American Indian Adults and the Role of Early Social Context


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Publication Date

Summer 8-6-2020

College, Institute, or Department

College of Nursing

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Nicholas Guenzel

Research Mentor

Dr. Nicholas Guenzel

Document Type




Substance abuse and addiction plague much of the United States, especially in the American Indian population. Substance abuse in the American Indian community is higher than any other ethnic group (American Addiction Centers, 2020). According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 2013, American Indians 12 years and older had one of the highest rates of illicit drug use and heavy drinking in the U.S (Dickerson et al., 2016). Addiction and substance abuse typically stem from the experiences and traumas in a person's life. Some risk factors among the American Indian population include socioeconomic inequality, discrimination, racism, historical trauma, and violence (American Addiction Centers, 2020). These factors play a significant role in the development of substance abuse disorders.


Design: Secondary Data Analysis

Sample: Self-identifying American Indian adults (19+ years) living within 30 miles outside of Omaha or Lincoln that have used a drug or alcohol at least once. Procedure: A booth set up at local pow-wows and AI events, research assistants (RA) contacted people they knew who might qualify, and word-of-mouth were the main methods of finding participants. From here, RAs ensured they met inclusion/exclusion criteria; 41 participants were chosen for the “Substance Use Disorder” group and 41 were chosen for the “Non-Substance Use Disorder” group. A survey was administered by trained community members either over the phone or in person, and answers were entered into REDCap by RAs. A licensed drug and alcohol counselor (LDAC) called 8 random participants from each group and conducted an assessment determining if they likely had a drug/alcohol problem in the past.


We will use chi-square analysis for categorical variables and t-tests for continuous variables.


Results are pending


American Indian, Addiction, foster care, reservation, family

Addiction in American Indian Adults and the Role of Early Social Context