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Historical Trauma and Substance Use among Native Hawaiian College Students

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Objectives: To test the relationships among historical trauma, perceived discrimination, and substance use (cigarette, alcohol, and marijuana use) among Native Hawaiians. Methods: Cross sectional self-report data were collected online from 128 Native Hawaiian community college students (M age = 27.5; SD = 9.5; 65% Women). Hypotheses were tested using structural equation modeling. Results: Historical trauma had 2 paths to substance use: an indirect path to higher substance use through higher perceived discrimination and a direct path to lower substance use. Conclusions: Thoughts, knowledge, or experience associated with historical trauma may enhance substance use behavior via increased perceived discrimination and may also be protective against substance use, possibly via increased pride in one's cultural heritage. This research has implications for historical trauma, discrimination, and substance use research concerning Native Hawaiians.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Prevention and Control Program, University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Honolulu, HI, USA., Email: 2: Prevention and Control Program, University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Honolulu, HI, USA

Publication date: 2014-05-01

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

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