Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




This investigation sought to determine if differences exist between Native American women and health care provider's perceptions of Native American women’s health care concerns. Understanding of this culture’s concerns may enhance future care and treatment of Native American women and help in the development of culturally based health care.

A convenience sample of 36 Native American women and 32 health care providers, age 21-81, was obtained from an upper midwestern Indian reservation and the surrounding communities. Informed consents were obtained. A self-administered three-part questionnaire was given to each participant to complete on perceptions of health care concerts for Native American women and their cultural values.

Parts I and II, demographic data and a scale for health care concerns was developed by the researcher. Part III was a scale on cultural values originally developed by G.W. Renwick and S. H. Rhinesmith and adapted by the researcher for the purpose of this study.

MANOVA results revealed no statistical significance for health care concerns between the two groups. Mean scores showed that both groups believed diabetes, alcohol abuse, and abuse/violence are top priority concerns. When cultural values group differences were assessed to determine differences between groups, MANOVA resuts were significant (Wilks’ criterion =.69; 6(9,55) = 2.7b; p^.01). Further t-test analysis showed that Native American women believe the needs of tne family come before individual needs, whereas health care providers felt the needs of the ■individual come before the needs of the family. The largest difference existed in the issue ot' eye contact, the mean for Native American women being M-2.31 and health care provider’s mean being M*=1.4A. Comments from both groups indicated the need for more heath education, better doctors, and more effective communication to help improve health care.

Areas of concern, conflicting perspectives, and agreement were indentified. This information could be valuable in olanning culturally based health education and care. Implications for further research include replicating this study using a larger random sample from different Indian reservations, determining if health care providers who have more contact with Native American women have greater understanding of their health concerns, and investigating whether health care perceptions and cultural values are influenced by gender.