Lynn Martell

Date of Award

January 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Justin McDonald


Previous research has found American Indians (AI) to demonstrate higher levels of alcohol use than Caucasians (CA); however, recent research has found that AI may be drinking at similar or lower rates than CA. Cultural identification (i.e., degree to which an individual associate with, and represents themselves as a member of a specific cultural group) may be a factor contributing to the level of alcohol use among AI. The current study examined cultural identification and alcohol use among University of North Dakota (UND) AI (n=56) and CA (n=88) college students. Results indicated non-significant differences in alcohol use between cultural identification groups. However, results indicated significant differences in the standardized alcoholic drinks per day between cultural identification groups; with CA having a significantly higher average daily alcohol consumption than AIs who identified as Marginal, Traditional, and Assimilated. The second aim of the current study examined the association between alcohol use and age. Results indicated a significant difference in standardized alcoholic drinks per day between age groups; with 18 to 25-year-olds having higher average daily alcohol consumption then 26-year-olds and older. Furthermore, this study was the first to examine the Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory-4 (SASSI-4) among AI college students. A better understanding of the relationship between cultural identification and alcohol use will enhance intervention efforts among college students and add to the literature of AI college students and alcohol use.

Keywords: Cultural identification, alcohol use