Developing an indigenous measure of overall health and well-being: The Wicozani instrument

Heather J. Peters, Teresa R. Peterson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Scopus citations


    A Native community developed the Wicozani Instrument, a 9-item self-report measure, to assess overall health and well-being from an Indigenous epistemology. The Wicozani Instrument measures mental, physical, and spiritual health and their importance to an individual's quality of life. The instrument's validity and reliability was examined through two studies. Study 1 utilized standardized measures from Native (i.e., Awareness of Connectedness Scale) and Western (i.e., Psychological Sense of School Membership and Suicide Ideation Questionnaire) epistemologies with Native and non-Native youth. Study 2 utilized a community created measure (i.e., Indigenous Healing Strategies Scale) with Dakota women. Results suggest the Wicozani Instrument is valid and reliable. The development of an Indigenous measure of overall health and well-being addresses Western atomistic frameworks, which often perpetuate the perception of Native identity as a risk factor for poor health, and works to disrupt the Cycle of Native Health Disparities.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)96-122
    Number of pages27
    JournalAmerican Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - 2019

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    Research reported in Study 1 was supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U54MD008164 (Elliott). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. Research reported in Study 2 was supported by the Grant in Aid program at the University of Minnesota. The authors contributed equally to the manuscript. We especially express gratitude to the Dakota Wicohan staff, family, and youth for sharing their truth

    Publisher Copyright:
    © Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health.


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