Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Power of the powwow: American Indian perspectives on ethnic identity and social interest
by Andrade-Bekker, Mary Ann, Psy.D., Adler School of Professional Psychology, 2015, 186; 3664153
Abstract (Summary)

The American Indian population is often described as a collectivistic culture that focuses on tribal affiliation, community, and family. The focus on developing community relations and positively contributing back to one's tribe(s) of origin parallels the Adlerian concept of social interest. Additionally, the American Indian population engages in social interest to connect to and identify with their heritage. This mixed methodology study (n = 52 participants) explored how American Indian powwows impacted American Indian ethnic identity and social interest. It was predicted that American Indians who had previous powwow experience would score higher on the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure – Revised (MEIM-R) and the Sulliman Scale of Social Interest (SSSI) compared to American Indians who had not attended powwows.

Data results indicated there was no significant difference in the MEIM-R and SSSI scores between American Indians who had attended powwows compared to those who had not attended powwows. Due to the overlap between ethnic identity and social interest theoretically, this study examined the relationship between ethnic identity and social interest; however, no correlation was identified. Several possible reasons for the lack of statistical significance include lack of norming in the MEIM-R and SSSI with the American Indian population, American Indians may view ethnic identity and social interest differently compared to Western Euro-American psychological theories, American Indians might not integrate powwow experience into their core ethnic identity or feelings of social interest, and multifaceted barriers (geographical, financial, physiological, etc.) may have impacted the development of their ethnic identity and social interest. It is also possible that powwows do not elicit ethnic identity or social interest.

However, several statistically significant relationships were found among the demographic factors and the MEIM-R and SSSI scales and subscales. For example, a medium negative correlational relationship was found between the MEIM-R Total Score and reservation residency (rs = -0.31, p<.05) and the SSSI Total Score and spirituality importance (rs = -0.31, p<.05). The differences between reservation and non-reservation residency may have elicited different cultural experiences and creation of American Indian ethnic identity, thus eliciting a negative correlational relationship between the MEIM-R Total Score and reservation residency. In regards to spirituality importance and the SSSI Total Score, it would seem American Indians may place their worries in a higher power as opposed to discussing them with others. Further research should focus on how the American Indian population collectively views ethnic identity development and social interest, the importance of utilizing cultural traditions when understanding and working with the American Indian population, and the role social interest plays in ethnic identity development.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Johnson-Migalski, Leigh
Commitee:
School: Adler School of Professional Psychology
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 77/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Social research, Mental health, Native American studies
Keywords: American Indians, Ethnic identity, Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure-Revised (MEIM-R), Social interest, Sulliman Scale of Social Interest (SSSI)
Publication Number: 3664153
ISBN: 9781339145785
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