Date of Award

January 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Justin D. McDonald


Previous research suggests American Indians (AIs) demonstrate higher levels of substance use and related consequences. AIs have experienced historical trauma through colonization which has created shifts in the way AIs conceptualize their identity. However, the literature on cultural identification as an influencing factor of substance use among AIs is inconsistent. The current study examined alcohol and drug use/related consequences, collective self-esteem, and cultural identification among 213 AI (n = 44) and Caucasian (CA; n = 169) adults via online surveys. Results indicated higher scores on the American Indian Cultural Identification (AICI) scale was a predictor for increased alcohol and drug use/related consequences, whereas, scores on the European American Cultural Identification (EACI) scale did not predict alcohol and drug use. Findings demonstrated identity exploration and commitment was not correlated with AI and CA alcohol and drug use/related consequences. Furthermore, results indicated EACI scores decrease in alcohol and drug use was mediated by increased membership self-esteem, private collective self-esteem, and public collective self-esteem. Results indicated AICI scores increase in alcohol and drug use was mediated by decreased private and public collective self-esteem, whereas, AICI scores decrease in alcohol and drug use was mediated by increased importance to identity. This study was the first to examine the mediating effects of collective self-esteem between cultural identification and substance use among AI adults. Understanding the relationship between these variables may enhance assessment and intervention/prevention efforts among AI and CA adults.