Anishinabe Youth Online Wellness Study

Julianne Dumont - IIRC20
Thursday, November 19, 2020

Although many First Nations (FN) communities have incorporated culture into their models of wellness since time immemorial, the empirical support for a FN cultural connectedness construct and its impact on well-being is relatively new. Given the growing recognition that cultural connection promotes well-being for FN peoples, the current study will assess the protective factor of cultural connectedness (i.e., FN identity, traditions, and spirituality) within the context of a pandemic (i.e., COVID-19 pandemic). The present study aims to test whether strong cultural connectedness, increased engagement in health-related behaviors, and positiveperceptions of social supports reduce risk for negative emotionality (i.e., depression and anxiety symptoms) and substance use (i.e., alcohol and cannabis use) among Anishinabe youth during the COVID-19 pandemic. The conceptualization of the study will be based on Anishinabeg holistic well-being teachings surrounding the medicine wheel (i.e., investigating spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional aspects of health). In the current study, spiritual health will map onto baseline cultural connectedness for Anishinabe youth. Physical health will be assessed with weekly measures of health-related behaviours (i.e., physical activity, diet, and sleep). Emotional health will map onto baseline social supports (i.e., support from family, friends or significant other). Last, mental health will be assessed with weekly measures of depression, anxiety, and substance use (i.e., alcohol and cannabis use). The current study will include approximately 50 Anishinabe youth between the ages of 15 and 24 years old. This seven-week online study will assess both baseline characteristics of cultural connectedness and social support and weekly assessments of health-related behaviors, negative emotionality, and substance use. A two-level analysis will be conducted within a multilevel modelling framework using MLR as the estimator in MPlus to assess weekly health-related behaviours on negative emotionality and substance use (level 1). In addition, the influence of baseline cultural connectedness and perceived social support (level 2) will be tested on these within person associations.Finally, we will assess the association between cultural connectedness and perceived support. It is hypothesized that increased engagement in health-related behaviors will be associated with reduced negative emotionality and substance use over the seven-week timeframe of this study. Further, it is hypothesized that baseline cultural connectedness and perceived social support will affect these associations, such that strong cultural connectedness and positive perceptions of social support will be associated with increased weekly engagement in health-related behaviours, and this in turn will predict reduced negative emotionality and substance use. Last, it is hypothesized that there will be a positive association between cultural connectedness and perceived social support.

 
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