American Indian/Alaska Natives comprise a small portion of the general college student population, but often have the poorest health and wellness, as well as the highest dropout rates compared to any other race or ethnicity. Despite the well-documented issues this group faces in higher education, they are often ignored in studies due to their status as the minority within the minority, comprising only 0.8 % of all college students in the US. This study examines the differences in college students’ overall ratings of health across racial and ethnic groups, focusing specifically on the health and wellness of AI/AN students compared to their counterparts. This paper also investigates the physical health issues students experienced in the past 12 months and the health issues’ impact on their academic achievement. Results showed that AI/AN students reported the lowest overall health ratings and the most health issues in the past year.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Adamson, J., Ben-Shlomo, Y., Chaturvedi, N., & Donovan, J. (2003). Ethnicity, socio-economic position and gender—Do they affect reported health-care seeking behavior? Social Science and Medicine, 57, 895–904.
American College Health Association. (2009). American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment II: Reference Group Data Report Fall 2008. Baltimore: American College Health Association.
American College Health Association. (2009). American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment II: Reference Group Data Report Spring 2009. Linthicum, MD: American College Health Association.
American College Health Association. (2010). American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment II: Reference Group Data Report Fall 2009. Baltimore: American College Health Association.
American College Health Association. (2011). American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment II: Reference Group Data Report Fall 2010. Linthicum, MD: American College Health Association.
American College Health Association. (2013). National College Health Assessment generalizability, reliability, and validity analysis. Retrieved October 17, 2012 from http://www.acha-ncha.org/grvanalysis.html.
American College Health Association. (2013). National College Health Assessment participation history. Retrieved October 17, 2012 from http://www.acha-ncha.org/partic_history.html.
American College Health Association. (2013). National College Health Assessment sample survey. Retrieved October 17, 2012 from http://www.acha-ncha.org/sample_survey.html.
Anderson, T. W., & Finn, J. D. (1996). The new statistical analysis of data. New York: Springer.
Benjamin, D.-P., Chambers, S., & Reiterman, G. (1993). A focus on American Indian college persistence. Journal of American Indian Education, 32(2), 24–40.
Blum, R. W., Harmon, B., Harris, L., Bergeisen, L., & Resnick, M. D. (1992). American Indian-Alaska Native youth health. Journal of the American Medical Association, 267, 1637–1644.
Braxton, J. M., Brier, E. M., & Steele, S. L. (2008). Shaping retention from research to practice. Journal of College Student Retention, 9(3), 377–399.
Brown, L. L., & Robinson Kurpius, S. E. (1997). Psychosocial factors influencing academic persistence of American Indian college students. Journal of College Student Development, 38(1), 3–12.
Carter-Pokras, O., & Baquet, C. (2002). What is a health disparity? Public Health Reports, 117, 426–434.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). National diabetes fact, sheet: National estimates and general information on diabetes and prediabetes in the United States, 2011.
Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates.
Commission on Social Determinants of Health. (2008). Closing the gap in a generation: Health equity through action on the social determinants of health. Geneva: World Health Organization.
Indian Health Services. (2003). Trends in Indian health 2002–2003 edition. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.
Indian Health Services. (2012). Diabetes in American Indians and Alaska natives: Facts at-a-glance. Retrieved November, 30 2012 from http://www.ihs.gov/MedicalPrograms/Diabetes/HomeDocs/Resources/FactSheets/2012/Fact_sheet_AIAN_508c.pdf.
Kidwell, C. S. (1994). Higher education issues in Native American communities. In M. J. Justiz, R. Wilson, & L. J. Bjork (Eds.), Minorities in higher education (pp. 239–257). Phoenix: Oryx Press.
Kroenke, K., & Spitzer, R. L. (1998). Gender differences in the reporting of physical and somatoform symptoms. Psychosomatic Medicine, 60(2), 150–155.
O’Brien, E. M. (1990). A foot in each world: American Indians striving to succeed in higher education. Black Issues in Higher Education, 7, 27–31.
O’Brien, E. M. (1992). American Indians in higher education (Research Briefs 3). Washington, DC: American Council on Education, Division of Policy Analysis and Research.
Ott, R. L. (1993). An introduction to statistical methods and data analysis. Belmont: Wadsworth, Inc.
Pan American Health Organization—World Health Organization (1999). Principles and basic concepts of equity in health. Retrieved October 3, 2012 from http://www.paho.org/english/hdp/hdd/pahowho.pdf.
Patterson, D. A., Ahuna, K. H., Tinnesz, C. G., & VanZile-Tamsen, C. (2013). Using self-regulated learning to increase Native American college retention. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice.
Pavel, D. M., Skinner, R. R., Farris, E., Cahalan, M., Tippeconnic, J., & Stein, W. (1998). American Indians and Alaska Natives in postsecondary education. Washington, DC: US Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, National Center for Education Statistics.
Ponterotto, J. G. (1990). Racial/ethnic minority and women students in higher education: A status report. New Directions for Student Services, 52, 45–59.
Tabachnik, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2007). Using multivariate statistics (5th ed.). New York: Pearson Education, Inc.
Tierney, W. G. (1996). The college experiences of Native Americans: A critical analysis. In C. Turner, M. Garcia, A. Nora, & L. I. Rendon (Eds.), Racial and ethnic diversity in higher education (pp. 302–311). Needham Heights: Simon & Schuster.
Tinto, V. (1975). Dropout from higher education: A theoretical synthesis of recent research. Review of Educational Research, 45, 89–127.
Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
US Census Bureau. (2011). American Community Survey. Table Detailed Race, Total population 1-Year Estimates.
US Department of Education. (2009). Degrees conferred by racial and ethnic group. Retrieved October 8, 2012 from the Chronicle of Higher Education website, http://chronicle.com/article/Degrees-Conferred-by-Racial/48039/.
Wame, D. (2006). Research and educational approaches to reducing health disparities among American Indian and Alaska natives. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 17, 266–271.
Yatani, K. (n.d.). Chi square test effect size. In Statistics for HCI research. Retrieved October 4, 2012 from http://yatani.jp/HCIstats/ChiSquare#ChiEffectSize.
About this article
Cite this article
Patterson-Silver Wolf, D.A., VanZile-Tamsen, C., Black, J. et al. A Comparison of Self-reported Physical Health and Health Conditions of American Indian/Alaskan Natives to Other College Students. J Community Health 38, 1090–1097 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-013-9718-5
- American Indian/Alaska Natives
- College retention
- College dropout
- Student health
- Academic achievement
- Health and wellness