Distress among Indigenous North Americans: Generalized and Culturally Relevant Stressors

Melissa L. Walls, Les B. Whitbeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Stress process and life-course models of mental distress emphasize sociocultural and historical processes that influence stress exposure and the impact of stress on mental health outcomes. Drawing from these theoretical orientations as well as concepts from the historical trauma literature, the authors examine the effects of culturally relevant and more generalized sources of stress on distress among North American Indigenous adults and test for the potential cumulative and interactive effects of stress on distress across the life course via self-reported early childhood and adult and contemporary stressors. Results of ordinary least squares regression analyses reveal positive, significant associations between general stressors and distress as well as culturally meaningful stressors and distress. In addition, the authors found evidence of the accumulating and interactive impact of stress on psychological distress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-136
Number of pages13
JournalSociety and Mental Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • community-based mental health
  • cultural differences
  • distress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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