Examining the role of culture and cultural perceptions of aging and dementia in the recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of age-related cognitive impairment remains an understudied area of clinical neuropsychology. This paper describes a qualitative study based on a series of key informant group interviews with an Aboriginal Grandmothers Group in the province of Saskatchewan. Thematic analysis was employed in an exploration of Aboriginal perceptions of normal aging and dementia and an investigation of issues related to the development of culturally appropriate assessment techniques. Three related themes were identified that highlighted Aboriginal experiences of aging, caregiving, and dementia within the healthcare system: (1) cognitive and behavioural changes were perceived as a normal expectation of the aging process and a circular conception of the lifespan was identified, with aging seen as going back "back to the baby stage", (2) a "big change in culture" was linked by Grandmothers to Aboriginal health, illness (including dementia), and changes in the normal aging process, and (3) the importance of culturally grounded healthcare both related to review of assessment tools, but also within the context of a more general discussion of experiences with the healthcare system. Themes of sociocultural changes leading to lifestyle changes and disruption of the family unit and community caregiving practices, and viewing memory loss and behavioural changes as a normal part of the aging process were consistent with previous work with ethnic minorities. This research points to the need to understand Aboriginal perceptions of aging and dementia in informing appropriate assessment and treatment of age-related cognitive impairment and dementia in Aboriginal seniors.
STI rates are high for First Nations in Canada and the United States. Our objective was to understand the context, issues, and beliefs around high STI rates from a nêhiyaw (Cree) perspective. Twenty-two in-depth interviews were conducted with 25 community participants between March 1, 2011 and May 15, 2011. Interviews were conducted by community researchers and grounded in the Cree values of relationship, sharing, personal agency and relational accountability. A diverse purposive snowball sample of community members were asked why they thought STI rates were high for the community. The remainder of the interview was unstructured, and supported by the interviewer through probes and sharing in a conversational style. Modified grounded theory was used to analyze the narratives and develop a theory. The main finding from the interviews was that abuse of power in relationships causes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wounds that disrupt the medicine wheel. Wounded individuals seek medicine to stop suffering and find healing. Many numb suffering by accessing temporary medicines (sex, drugs and alcohol) or permanent medicines (suicide). These medicines increase the risk of STIs. Some seek healing by participating in ceremony and restoring relationships with self, others, Spirit/religion, traditional knowledge and traditional teachings. These medicines decrease the risk of STIs. Younger female participants explained how casual relationships are safer than committed monogamous relationships. Resolving abuse of power in relationships should lead to improvements in STI rates and sexual health.
Longstanding disparities in substance use disorders and treatment access exist among American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN). Computerized, web-delivered interventions have potential to increase access to quality treatment and improve patient outcomes. Prior research supports the efficacy of a web-based version [therapeutic education system (TES)] of the community reinforcement approach to improve outcomes among outpatients in substance abuse treatment; however, TES has not been tested among AI/AN. The results from this mixed method acceptability study among a diverse sample of urban AI/AN (N = 40) show that TES was acceptable across seven indices (range 7.8-9.4 on 0-10 scales with 10 indicating highest acceptability). Qualitative interviews suggest adaptation specific to AI/AN culture could improve adoption. Additional efforts to adapt TES and conduct a larger effectiveness study are warranted.
Telepsychiatry differs from in-person treatment in terms of its delivery mechanism, and this dissimilarity may increase cultural differences between the provider and the patient. Because cultural competence and identification can impact patient satisfaction ratings, we wanted to explore whether cultural differences in our study population influenced telepsychiatric and in-person interviews. Here, we compared the acceptability of conducting psychiatric assessments with rural American Indian veterans by real-time videoconferencing versus inperson administration. The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IIIR (SCID) was given to participants both in person and by telehealth. A process measure was created to assess participants' responses to the interview type concerning the usability of the technology, the perceptions of the interviewee/interviewer interaction, the cultural competence of the interview, and satisfaction with the interview and the interview process. The process measure was administered to 53 American Indian Vietnam veterans both in-person and by real-time interactive videoconferencing. Mean responses were compared for each participant. Interviewers were also asked several of the same questions as the participants; answers were compared to the corresponding participant responses. Overall, telepsychiatry was well received and comparable in level of patient comfort, satisfaction, and cultural acceptance to in-person interviews. We also found evidence to suggest that interviewers sometimes interpreted participant satisfaction as significantly less favorable than the participants actually responded. Despite the potential of videoconferencing to increase cultural differences, we found that it is an acceptable means for psychiatric assessment of American Indian veterans and presents an opportunity to provide mental health services to a population that might otherwise not have access.
This article builds on the People Awakening (PA) Project, which explored an Alaska Native (AN) understanding of the recovery process from alcohol use disorder and sobriety. The aim of this study is to explore motivating and maintenance factors for sobriety among older AN adult participants (age 50+) from across Alaska. Ten life history narratives of Alaska Native older adults, representing Alutiiq, Athabascan, Tlingit, Yup'ik/Cup'ik Eskimos, from the PA sample were explored using thematic analysis. AN older adults are motivated to abstain from, or to quit drinking alcohol through spirituality, family influence, role socialization and others' role modeling, and a desire to engage in indigenous cultural generative activities with their family and community. A desire to pass on their accumulated wisdom to a younger generation through engagement and sharing of culturally grounded activities and values, or indigenous cultural generativity, is a central unifying motivational and maintenance factor for sobriety. The implications of this research indicates that family, role expectations and socialization, desire for community and culture engagement, and spirituality are central features to both AN Elders' understanding of sobriety, and more broadly, to their successful aging. Future research is needed to test these findings in population-based studies and to explore incorporation of these findings into alcohol treatment programs to support older AN adults' desire to quit drinking and attain long-term sobriety. Sobriety can put older AN adults on a pathway to successful aging, in positions to serve as role models for their family and community, where they are provided opportunities to engage in meaningful indigenous cultural generative acts.
Suicide rates in Alaska Native elders are studied to further explore cultural factors in elderly suicide. Data for the 1960s and 1970s are reviewed, and new data on Alaska Native suicide rates are presented for the 10-year period of 1985 through 1994. In many areas throughout the world, suicide rates are the highest for the elderly. During the Alaska "oil boom," suicide rates more than tripled for the general population but decreased to zero for Alaska Native elders. Cultural teachings from the society's elders were more important during this time of culture upheaval. During the study period, the cultural changes dissipated, and suicide rates for Alaska Native elders, although lower than those of White Alaskans, increased. This provides further evidence that suicide rates for elders can be influenced by social factors--both to raise to lower rates.
Although alcohol use was not part of traditional First Nation (FN) life, alcohol misuse currently poses a significant public health problem. There is a dearth of research efforts to understand both alcohol misuse and efforts to resolve these problems. The primary aims of this study were to 1) present descriptive data on alcohol use in FN adults living on one reserve in Eastern Canada; and 2) explore correlates of help seeking intentions and past behaviors.
We administered questionnaires to 211 FN people (96 men; 113 women; 2 unknown).
Nearly two-thirds of our sample were current drinkers (N=150). Of those, 29% endorsed they needed help with their drinking, and half reported that they would probably try to cut down or stop drinking in the next year. Multiple regression analyses suggested that drinking was positively associated with a greater perceived need for help with drinking (ß=.40, p=
A community survey and subsequent clinical assessment of 192 Cree aged 65 years and over registered in two Reserves in Northern Manitoba identified only one case of probable Alzheimer's disease among eight cases of dementia, giving a prevalence of 0.5% for Alzheimer's disease and 4.2% for all dementias. This contrasted with an age-adjusted prevalence of 3.5% for Alzheimer's disease and 4.2% for all dementias in an age-stratified sample of 241 English-speaking residents of Winnipeg. Although it was not so for all dementias, the difference between the groups for prevalence of Alzheimer's disease was highly significant (p
Lack of access to care, funding limitations, cultural, and social barriers are challenges specific to tribal communities that have led to adverse cancer outcomes among American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN). While the cancer navigator model has been shown to be effective in other underserved communities, it has not been widely implemented in Indian Country. We conducted in-depth interviews with 40 AI/AN patients at tribal clinics in Idaho and Oregon. We developed the survey instrument in partnership with community members to ensure a culturally appropriate semi-structured questionnaire. Questions explored barriers to accessing care, perceptions of the navigator program, satisfaction, and recommendations. AI/AN cancer patients reported physical, emotional, financial, and transportation barriers to care, but most did not feel there were any cultural barriers to receiving care. Navigator services most commonly used included decision making, referrals, transportation, scheduling appointments, and communication. Satisfaction with the program was high. Our study provides a template to develop a culturally appropriate survey instrument for use with an AI/AN population, which could be adapted for use with other indigenous patient populations. Although our sample was small, our qualitative analysis facilitated a deeper understanding of the barriers faced by this population and how a navigator program may best address them. The results reveal the strengths and weakness of this program, and provide baseline patient satisfaction numbers which will allow future patient navigator programs to better create evaluation benchmarks.
Cites: Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2012 Oct;21(10):1673-81 PMID 23045542
Cites: MMWR Surveill Summ. 2004 Jun 4;53(3):1-108 PMID 15179359