Urban Dwelling American Indian Adolescent Girls’ Beliefs Regarding Health Care Access and Trust

  • Melissa A Saftner
  • Kristy K Martyn
  • Sandra L Momper
Keywords: American Indians, Native Americans, Indigenous, tobacco, smoking, community based research


Indigenous people, specifically American Indians (AI), have historically had a greater mistrust of the medical system compared to their White counterparts. The purpose of this paper is to explore the perceptions of AI adolescent girls living in an urban, Midwest area about health care providers, health care systems, and access to health care as related to sexual health care. Using grounded theory methodology, twenty 15-19 year old AI girls participated in talking circles and individual interviews. Two distinct themes emerged related to sexual health care: 1. AI adolescent girls trust their health care providers and the health care system; and 2. Access to health care is critical to practicing safe sex and obtaining information about healthy sexual practices. These findings are unique and may help health care providers and social workers providing care and support to the urban adolescent AI girl.


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