American Journal of Community Psychology

, Volume 33, Issue 3–4, pp 119–130

Conceptualizing and Measuring Historical Trauma Among American Indian People

  • Les B. Whitbeck
  • Gary W. Adams
  • Dan R. Hoyt
  • Xiaojin Chen


This article reports on the development of two measures relating to historical trauma among American Indian people: The Historical Loss Scale and The Historical Loss Associated Symptoms Scale. Measurement characteristics including frequencies, internal reliability, and confirmatory factor analyses were calculated based on 143 American Indian adult parents of children aged 10 through 12 years who are part of an ongoing longitudinal study of American Indian families in the upper Midwest. Results indicate both scales have high internal reliability. Frequencies indicate that the current generation of American Indian adults have frequent thoughts pertaining to historical losses and that they associate these losses with negative feelings. Two factors of the Historical Loss Associated Symptoms Scale indicate one anxiety/depression component and one anger/avoidance component. The results are discussed in terms of future research and theory pertaining to historical trauma among American Indian people.

historical trauma American Indians historical grief 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Les B. Whitbeck
    • 1
  • Gary W. Adams
    • 1
  • Dan R. Hoyt
    • 1
  • Xiaojin Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of Nebraska–LincolnLincoln

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