First Advisor

Kristine Nelson

Term of Graduation

Summer 1997

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Work and Social Research


Social Work and Social Research




Indian women -- Health and hygiene -- North America, Prenatal care, Indians of North America -- Social life and customs, Pregnancy, Childbirth



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 173 pages)


This dissertation reports findings from a qualitative study of intergenerational transmission of pregnancy and childbirth information among Native American women. Proposed is a theory of intergenerational transmission that explains four pathways used by Indian women to gain information about pregnancy and childbirth. Antecedent, consequent, and core elements are associated with the transmission process.

Discriminant sampling was used to identify the middle generation of Indian mothers and grandmothers, between 36 and 65 years of age, residing on or near the reservation, with experience of assimilation policies that had moved off-reservation temporarily. The researcher used the grounded theory method to analyze responses to the profile instrument, the Ethnic, Culture, Religion/Spirituality (ECR) instrument (Cross, 1995), May's (1982) social integration schema, and open-ended focus group interviews. Two focus groups were conducted, Group I with 4 women, and Group II with 3 women.

The ECR questionnaire was used to describe aspects of cultural strengths believed to be associated with the presence of resiliency. May's (1982) social integration schema was used to describe attributes of social adaptation/integration to culture and as a way to predict susceptibility to problem behavior, such as alcohol use.

Interview data were analyzed using the method of constant comparative analysis. The resulting model of intergenerational pathways among Native American women described antecedent, consequent, and core elements of the transmission of culture.

In the process of cultural transmission, the middle generation of women identified with balancing both world views. Yet, in comparison with the Rural Oregon Minority Prenatal Project study (1995a), elders identified more with the traditional world, and the young Indian women did not identify with either world and were described as caught between two worlds. It is hypothesized then that urban Indian women, living off-reservation or with limited access to Indian culture, would identify more with the modern contemporary world rather than with the traditional Indian world.



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