Risk and Protective Factors for Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety Among American Indians: Understanding the Roles of Resilience and Trauma

Catherine E. McKinley, Shamra Boel-Studt, Lynette M. Renner, Charles R. Figley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Depression and anxiety are comorbid conditions that are disproportionately high among American Indians (AIs) or Alaska Natives. The purpose of this study was to identify potential risk (e.g., low income, intimate partner violence [IPV], adverse childhood experiences [ACEs]) and protective factors (e.g., family resilience, social and community support) related to symptoms of depression and anxiety among AI adults. Method: As part of larger exploratory sequential mixed-methods research, the study focused on survey data with 127 AI adults from two Southeastern tribes (n = 117 when missing data were removed). We used the following three-stage hierarchical regression to understand factors related to depressive and anxiety symptoms: (a) demographics, including income; (b) ACEs and IPV; and (c) family resilience, along with family and community support. Results: Many participants experienced elevated levels of clinically significant symptoms of depression and anxiety (15% and 20%, respectively). Results indicated lower income was associated with higher depressive and anxiety symptoms. IPV and ACE variables were positively associated with depressive and anxiety symptoms. Family resilience was negatively associated with symptoms of anxiety and depression. Social and community support were associated with symptoms of anxiety. Conclusions: The findings provide strong preliminary support for the role of family protective and promotive factors in offsetting symptoms of anxiety and depression. This is contrary to most models of interventions for anxiety and depression focusing on individual psychotherapy rather than promoting family resilience or involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Alaska Natives
  • American Indians
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Family resilience
  • Social support

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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