Description: In my previous post (http://wileypsychologyupdates.ca/general-psychology/child-development/indigenous-psychology-and-the-role-of-culture-in-psychologcial-development-and-adjustment/) I talked about the role of culture in Psychological development and adjustment and the role of culture in the discipline of Psychology. While I am planning to move away from suicide and suicidal ideation as my focus on understanding the role of aboriginal and metis culture in individual development and adaptation I thought it would be instructive to have you look at a research article that specifically examines the role of historical cultural experiences (First Nations residential school attendance). The study linked below looks at knowledge of whether one’s parents or grandparents attended Indian Residential School (IRS) and the incidence of suicidal ideation (thoughts about suicide) among the First Nations adults in the study. I would suggest that you read the abstract then the introduction and then the discussion of the study (you can, of course, read it all if you like). After reading the article I would suggest you think a little bit about what you now know about the relationship between IRS attendance by one or two previous generations of one’s family and thoughts of suicide. I would also suggest you also think a bit after reading the study about what you now know or do not know about the role of culture in suicidal thoughts.
Source: McQuaid, R. J., Bombay, A., McInnis, O. A., Humeny, C., Matheson, K., & Anisman, H. (2017). Suicide Ideation and Attempts among First Nations Peoples Living On-Reserve in Canada: The Intergenerational and Cumulative Effects of Indian Residential Schools. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 62(6), 422-430
Date: June 1, 2017
Photo Credit: www.ctvnews.ca/
Article Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5455875/
If you read my previous post you may have seen how the article linked above is a reasonably good example of the sort of culture/heritage as symptom approach to indigenous psychology I talked about as being rather common in mainstream North American Psychology. If you are not sure you see this connection think a little bit about what the causal contribution of the attendance of previous generation(s) of relative at IRS to current adult levels of suicidal ideation and you should start to see the issue. For an alternative, culturally grounded, perspective I would encourage you to have a look at one or another of the three references by Chandler I have re-posted below in Further Reading. If suicidal thoughts are linked to struggles finding viable ways to articulate a sense of self-continuity, then the role of previous generations of IRS attendees in the issue of suicidal ideation might be better crafted and understood as an issue of lack of cultural continuity.
Questions for Discussion:
- Why were substantial number of aboriginal and metis children sent to Indian Residential Schools?
- How do you think cultural- and self-continuity might be related in situations of heightened suicidal ideation?
- What other thigs would be helpful to find out about if one wished to more clearly understand the role of IRS, culture, and self-continuity in aboriginal and metis thoughts of suicide?
References (Read Further):
McQuaid, R. J., Bombay, A., McInnis, O. A., Humeny, C., Matheson, K., & Anisman, H. (2017). Suicide Ideation and Attempts among First Nations Peoples Living On-Reserve in Canada: The Intergenerational and Cumulative Effects of Indian Residential Schools. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 62(6), 422-430.
Chandler, M. J., & Lalonde, C. (1998). Cultural continuity as a hedge against suicide in Canada’s First Nations. Transcultural psychiatry, 35(2), 191-219. http://web.uvic.ca/~lalonde/manuscripts/1998TransCultural.pdf
Chandler, M. J., & Lalonde, C. E. (2008). Cultural continuity as a protective factor against suicide in First Nations youth. Horizons, 10(1), 68-72. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Christopher_Lalonde/publication/239921354_Cultural_Continuity_as_a_Protective_Factor_Against_Suicide_in_First_Nations_Youth/links/561acd8908ae6d1730898fe8.pdf
Chandler, M. J., Lalonde, C. E., Sokol, B. W., Chandler, M. J., & Turiel, E. (2000). Continuities of selfhood in the face of radical developmental and cultural change. Culture, thought, and development, 65-84. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bryan_Sokol/publication/229046926_Continuities_of_selfhood_in_the_face_of_radical_developmental_and_cultural_change/links/00b495335fdda9864a000000.pdf