Date of Award

January 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Justin D. McDonald


College students engage in frequent substance use behaviors and experience related consequences. Previous research suggests American Indians (AIs) experience higher rates of substance use and related consequences. Further, AIs may experience negative substance use outcomes given higher rates of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). However, resiliency (i.e., experiencing positive outcomes despite adversity in one’s life) may be one factor that moderates the relationship between ACEs and substance use to in order to reduce use and negative consequences. The current study examined alcohol and drug use/consequences, ACEs, and resiliency among AI (n = 69) and Caucasian (CA; n= 91) university students via paper and online surveys. Results demonstrated no significant differences between alcohol and drug use/consequences between AI and CA students. Further, findings showed AI students had significant higher resiliency and ACE scores. Lastly, CA students (b=0.39, SE=0.12, t=3.24, p <.01) participants had greater drug use/related consequences when also high in ACEs; however, AI students did not experience higher drug use/related consequences when also high in ACEs. This study was the first to examine the relationship between alcohol and drug use/consequences, resiliency, and ACEs among AI and CA university students. AI and CA college students are using substances and experiencing related consequences similarly, despite AI students experiencing more adversity in childhood. Examining the relationship between these variables may enhance intervention/prevention efforts among college students and contribute to research on AI population and current substance use behaviors.