Motivational Interviewing and Culture for Urban Native American Youth (MICUNAY)

A Randomized Controlled Trial

Published in: Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment (2019). doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2019.12.011

Posted on RAND.org on January 14, 2020

by Elizabeth J. D'Amico, Daniel Dickerson, Ryan Andrew Brown, Carrie L. Johnson, David J. Klein, Denis Agniel

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To date, few programs that integrate traditional practices with evidence-based practices have been developed, implemented, and evaluated with urban American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) using a strong research design. The current study recruited urban AI/AN teens across northern, central, and southern California during 2014–2017 to participate in a randomized controlled trial testing two cultural interventions that addressed alcohol and other drug (AOD) use. Adolescents were 14–18 years old (inclusive), and either verbally self-identified as AI/AN or were identified as AI/AN by a parent or community member. We tested the added benefit of MICUNAY (Motivational Interviewing and Culture for Urban Native American Youth) to a CWG (Community Wellness Gathering). MICUNAY was a group intervention with three workshops that integrated traditional practices with motivational interviewing. CWGs were cultural events held monthly in each city. AI/AN urban adolescents (N = 185) completed a baseline survey, were randomized to MICUNAY + CWG or CWG only, and then completed a three- and six-month follow-up. We compared outcomes on AOD use, spirituality, and cultural identification. Overall, AOD use remained stable over the course of the study, and we did not find significant differences between these two groups over time. It may be that connecting urban AI/AN adolescents to culturally centered activities and resources is protective, which has been shown in other work with this population. Given that little work has been conducted in this area, longer term studies of AOD interventions with urban AI/AN youth throughout the U.S. are suggested to test the potential benefits of culturally centered interventions.

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