, Volume 32, Issue 3-4, pp 135-145
Date: 30 Jul 2011

Use of Media Technologies by Native American Teens and Young Adults in the Pacific Northwest: Exploring Their Utility for Designing Culturally Appropriate Technology-Based Health Interventions

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Abstract

American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth are disproportionally burdened by many common adolescent health issues, including drug and alcohol use, injury and violence, sexually transmitted infections, and teen pregnancy. Media technologies, including the Internet, cell phones, and video games, offer new avenues for reaching adolescents on a wide range of sensitive health topics. While several studies have informed the development of technology-based interventions targeting mainstream youth, no such data have been reported for AI/AN youth. To fill this gap, this study quantified media technology use among 405 AI/AN youth (13–21 years old) living in tribes and urban communities in the Pacific Northwest, and identified patterns in their health information-seeking practices and preferences. Overall, technology use was exceptionally common among survey respondents, mirroring or exceeding national rates. High rates of online health information seeking were also reported: Over 75% of AI/AN youth reported searching online for health information. These data are now being used by the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board and NW tribes to design culturally-appropriate, technology-based health interventions targeting AI/AN youth.