Raymond List

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




This study was undertaken to add to knowledge about Native American perspective on mental health issues. The present investigation explored two questions. The first used the Mental Health Values Questionnaire to explore how Native American mental health values are connected to daily lifestyle patterns. The MHVQ_is a 99-item instrument which yields scores for eight dimensions for conceptualizing healthy emotional adjustment (Tyler, Clark, Olson, Klapp, & Cheloha, 1983). The second question had to do with who Native Americans perceive to be appropriate sources of help for different types of perceived problems. This question was explored with the Sources of Referral Questionnaire (Tyler & Suan, 1989).

Subjects consisted of 98 college students from three different reservation based colleges. Degree of traditionality was assessed for each subject. The relationship between tribal differences, gender, and differences in traditionality on the scales of the MHVQ and the Sources of Referral Questionnaire were analyzed.

In order to compare the mental health values of Native Americans and Caucasians, a sample of 81 Caucasian subjects were chosen from a Northern Plains University. The responses from the two samples were compared for the MHVQ and the Sources of Referral Questionnaire. Traditional spirituality of the Caucasian subjects was also assessed.

The results supported observations from the literature review that healthy interrelationships and receptivity to spiritual experiences were perceived by the Native American sample to be important for mental well-being. The results also demonstrated that variations in the perception of mental health and problem situations were associated with tribal membership, traditionality and gender. Guidelines for mental health strategies and suggestions for future research were discussed.