Authors: Indian Health Service
Publication Year: 1991
Last Updated: 2010-01-21 08:14:08
Journal: Indian Health Service Division of Program Statistics
Keywords: Case Study; Family Characteristics; Family Health; Intergenerational Relations; Stress Disorders; Post-Traumatic
Short Abstract: The purpose of this study is to describe the dysfunctional behaviors in a specific urban American Indian family in the northeastern United States in order to discern whatever relationships that may exist between those behaviors and secondary post-traumatic stress.
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to describe the dysfunctional behaviors in a specific urban American Indian family in the northeastern United States in order to discern whatever relationships that may exist between those behaviors and secondary post-traumatic stress. The focus of this study is a large extended American Indian family living in the urban northeast. The family is comprised of 72 members and spans 5 generations. The family moved to its present location in the mid-1970's. The members left the reservation to escape economic hardship, but maintain close ties to the reservation. The family members maintain their first language, engage in traditional ceremonial activities, and frequently gather together to celebrate traditional holidays. The data for the case study was collected by means of an in-depth questionnaire The four different areas investigated through the use of the questionnaire am the physiologic, self-concept, role function and interdependence. Experts in the fields of public health planning, the Indian Health Service, medical social work and family therapy assisted the researcher. The researcher ultimately describes the family as chaotic and barely surviving. Assessment in the psycho-social modes reveals alienation from the community, deviant behavior, abuse, depression, suicide and trauma. The extended family structure serves as the major instrument for transmitting cultural attributes and conserving family patterns. In other words, the family that is the source of strength and stability is also the source of spiraling negative behavior patterns. The study produced data indicating that many of the family members experienced trauma as a result of separation from their family. The design of the study did not allow for direct correlation between stress trauma and leaving the reservation. Further research would be required to substantiate the relationship between separation of the family from the tribe and secondary PM. The author recognizes that a single family profile is insufficient to generalize causal relationships, or even clearly establish patterns of trans-generational behavior. However, the current family profile is typical of many American Indian families and thus demonstrates the need for further investigation of the inter-generational effects of secondary post-traumatic stress