Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

Susan L. Crowley


Susan L. Crowley


Renee Galliher


Carolyn Barcus


Gretchen Gimpel Peacock


Margaret Lubke


Native American youth often experience high rates of environmental risk factors that may put them at increased risk for developing psychological problems, yet research within this high-risk population is severely limited.

The present study was designed to provide information on the rate of psychological symptoms in a sample of Native American youth, and evaluate the impact of environmental factors (risk, protective, and cultural) on psychological disorder symptoms over time. Data were collected with a sample of Native American youth using the Youth Self Report, the Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory–Adolescent 2, and a researcher-designed Biodemographic Questionnaire.

Findings indicate that clinically significant levels of depression and anxiety from the Native American adolescent sample were similar to levels found in the general population of adolescents, while clinically significant levels of conduct disorder and substance use disorders were higher than rates found in the general population. Findings with respect to the impact of environmental factors indicate that higher scores on the overall risk index were associated with higher levels of all four psychological disorder symptom scales. However, high scores on the protective index were associated with lower levels of depression and conduct disorder symptoms but unrelated to anxiety and substance use. The overall cultural index was unrelated to all four psychological symptom scales. When subscales were examined, only the risk subscales were related to psychological disorder symptoms.

Results from the longitudinal analysis indicated that the risk, protective, and cultural index scores at Time 1, as a group, were predictive of anxiety, conduct disorder, and substance symptoms at Time 2, but unrelated to Time 2 depression scores. However, individually, the three index scores were generally not predictive of psychological symptoms with the exception of a positive association between Time 1 risk index scores and substance symptoms at a later date.



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