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Native Hawaiians’ Views on Depression and Preferred Behavioral Health Treatments: a Preliminary Qualitative Investigation

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Abstract

Behavioral health issues, especially depression, are a major health disparity concern for Native Hawaiians in Hawaiʻi. Following the cultural safety framework and contextual behavioral science approach to intervention development, the present preliminary qualitative investigation aimed to gather better insight into Native Hawaiians’ views of depression and its causes as well as their preferred forms of behavioral health services. Data were initially collected from a 2-hour virtual focus group with three behavioral health service providers working with Native Hawaiians, followed by a total of 38 online one-on-one in-depth interviews with Native Hawaiian clients with depression (n = 19), behavioral health service providers working with Native Hawaiian adults (n = 9), and Native Hawaiian cultural leaders (n = 10). Our qualitative data suggested that Native Hawaiians tend to view depression contextually and socioculturally as the manifestation of one’s vital connection to the ʻāina (land), ʻohana (family; continuity from ancestry and future generations), community, culture/spirituality, and one’s authentic self being disrupted. Our findings also suggested that Native Hawaiians often attribute these disruptions to disparities due to the ongoing impact of colonization, historical trauma, and cultural loss. As a preferred form of treatment for depression, participants recommended various Hawaiian cultural practices to be integrated into existing behavioral health services to nurture the above-mentioned vital connection.

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Funding

Data collection and preliminary analyses were supported by funding from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under award number U54MD007601.

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Correspondence to Akihiko Masuda PhD.

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Masuda, A., Nakamura, L., Preston-Pita, H. et al. Native Hawaiians’ Views on Depression and Preferred Behavioral Health Treatments: a Preliminary Qualitative Investigation. J Behav Health Serv Res 51, 203–218 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11414-023-09874-z

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