Title

Intergenerational Historical Trauma and Posttraumatic Growth in an Indigenous Pacific Island Community

Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Rhonda Bohs

Abstract

While many prevention and intervention strategies have been applied towards indigenous Pacific Island communities, these populations continue to observe upward trends in health disparities and documented shortfalls in the literature of culturally competent and sensitive practices. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to gain more understanding and insight of these communities through the conceptualizations of historical trauma (HT) and posttraumatic growth (PTG) theories. The central research question for this study examined how indigenous Pacific Island 3rd-generation adults described and perceived their experiences of intergenerational HT and potential growth. This study utilized a purposeful and criterion sample of 10 indigenous Pacific Island adults, between 18-32 years old, who participated in a project over 10 years ago. In the project, indigenous elders used the cultural tradition of oral storytelling, shared accounts of HT onto school aged children. Data were collected through semistructured interviews and qualitatively coded and analyzed using a modified thematic approach. Key findings indicated intergenerational HT effects as it related to participants' thoughts and feelings with concurrent positive experiences of increased values and engagement. The results also indicated PTG changes in appreciation of life, relating with others, personal strengths, new interests, and spiritual growth. Positive social change is implicated through the empirical evidence to inform researchers, policymakers, educators, and practitioners for further action, studies, and application of the culturally competent and sensitive strategy of shared familial oral traditions of storytelling as a means of preserving a community's history, found to increase PTG and reduce health disparities.

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