Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Learning Sciences and Human Development

Committee Chair

Carol Markstrom.

Committee Co-Chair

Krisitn Moilanen

Committee Member

Jessica Troilo


Historical trauma, poverty, educational inequalities, and discrimination are among the many factors contributing to current problems, such as substance abuse, experienced by some American Indian youth today. Much of the literature on American Indian adolescents has been problem-focused; but it is also important to identify factors that are associated with resilient outcomes, such as personal, social, and ecological factors highlighted in models of resilience. As a step toward conducting such studies, it is necessary to have measures that are valid, reliable, and culturally-applicable for American Indian adolescents. Therefore, a mixed methods study (focus groups; survey) was conducted to examine the Resilience Competencies Scale (RCS) for its applicability among American Indian youth in Arizona by: (1) assessing the RCS for face and content validity through focus group discussions with American Indian youth; and (2) administering the RCS to a sample of American Indian youth along with other measures to examine concurrent and discriminant forms of validity along with reliability. The study was conducted in two phases with distinct samples from a reservation community in Arizona. Two volunteers from the tribe's youth council (one 19 year old female and one 18 year old male) met with the investigator on multiple occasions over two weeks to critically examine the RCS for face and content validity as well as cultural applicability. The RCS was revised based on focus group input. Phase 2 data collection occurred at the reservation high school and alternative school. Fifty-eight 9th-12 th grade male and female American Indian students ranging from ages 15 to 19 participated in the study. Students completed the RCS, the Psychosocial Inventory of Ego Strengths (PIES) and The Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CES-D 10). Acceptable Cronbach's alphas were shown for all 20 items on the RCS and concurrent and discriminant validity were shown through significant correlations between the RCS, and with Hope and Purpose subscales and the CES-D 10. The validation of a measure of resilience for American Indian youth can serve as a useful research and clinical tool.