Conceptualizing Indigenous strengths-based health and wellness research using group concept mapping

Victoria M. O’Keefe, Tara L. Maudrie, Ashley B. Cole, Jessica S. Ullrich, Jillian Fish, Kyle X. Hill, Lauren A. White, Nicole Redvers, Valarie Blue Bird Jernigan, Jordan P. Lewis, Amy E. West, Charlene Aqpik Apok, Evan J. White, Jerreed D. Ivanich, Katie Schultz, Melissa E. Lewis, Michelle C. Sarche, Miigis B. Gonzalez, Myra Parker, Sophie E. Neuner WeinsteinCelena J. McCray, Donald Warne, Jessica C. Black, Jennifer R. Richards, Melissa L. Walls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: In recent years public health research has shifted to more strengths or asset-based approaches to health research but there is little understanding of what this concept means to Indigenous researchers. Therefore our purpose was to define an Indigenous strengths-based approach to health and well-being research. Methods: Using Group Concept Mapping, Indigenous health researchers (N = 27) participated in three-phases. Phase 1: Participants provided 218 unique responses to the focus prompt “Indigenous Strengths-Based Health and Wellness Research…” Redundancies and irrelevant statements were removed using content analysis, resulting in a final set of 94 statements. Phase 2: Participants sorted statements into groupings and named these groupings. Participants rated each statement based on importance using a 4-point scale. Hierarchical cluster analysis was used to create clusters based on how statements were grouped by participants. Phase 3: Two virtual meetings were held to share and invite researchers to collaboratively interpret results. Results: A six-cluster map representing the meaning of Indigenous strengths-based health and wellness research was created. Results of mean rating analysis showed all six clusters were rated on average as moderately important. Conclusions: The definition of Indigenous strengths-based health research, created through collaboration with leading AI/AN health researchers, centers Indigenous knowledges and cultures while shifting the research narrative from one of illness to one of flourishing and relationality. This framework offers actionable steps to researchers, public health practitioners, funders, and institutions to promote relational, strengths-based research that has the potential to promote Indigenous health and wellness at individual, family, community, and population levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number71
JournalArchives of Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


  • American Indian/Alaska Native
  • Conceptual framework
  • Group concept mapping
  • Indigenous
  • Public health

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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