Colleen Kagan

Date of Award

January 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Thomas Petros


American Indian populations experience high rates of psychological distress with 44.5% percent of Northern Plains American Indians reporting experiencing some depressive, anxiety, or substance use disorder over their lifetime. The MMPI-2 is a commonly used psychodiagnostic tool that has become widely used in the mental health treatment of different racial and ethnic groups. Research on the MMPI-2 with minority populations, and American Indian populations in particular, fails to account for the impact of level of acculturation. This study examined the impact of cultural identity on MMPI-2 profiles in Northern Plains American Indians and comparison Caucasian samples. Participants were administered a reading test, the MMPI-2, the Northern Plains Biculturalism Inventory to assess level of acculturation, and a brief demographic form. Results show that American Indians who identify as traditional and, to a lesser extent, bicultural tend to score significantly higher than Caucasian participants on a number of Validity (VRIN, TRIN, F, Fb, Fp, L), Clinical (Pa, Sc, Ma), Harris-Lingoes (Pa1, Sc1, Sc3, Sc5, Sc6, Ma4), and Content (FRS, DEP, HEA, BIZ, ANG, ASP, TPA, SOD, FAM, TRT) Scales. These results would indicate that level of acculturation impacts performance on the MMPI-2. This may suggest that Northern Plains American Indians 1) who are less acculturated experience more psychological distress and exhibit more traits of psychological disorders and 2) score higher because they interpret the items differently based upon the impact of their culture on their worldview.