Objective: We surveyed American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) women in New York City to determine the prevalence of 3 types of interpersonal violence among urban AIAN women and the behavioral health and mental health factors associated with this violence.
Methods: Using a survey, we questioned 112 adult AIAN women in New York City about their experiences with interpersonal violence, mental health, HIV risk behaviors, and help-seeking. The sampling plan utilized a multiple-wave approach with modified respondent-driven sampling, chain referral, and target sampling.
Results: Among respondents, over 65% had experienced some form of interpersonal violence, of which 28% reported childhood physical abuse, 48% reported rape, 40% reported a history of domestic violence, and 40% reported multiple victimization experiences. Overwhelmingly, women experienced high levels of emotional trauma related to these events. A history of interpersonal violence was associated with depression, dysphoria, help-seeking behaviors, and an increase in high-HIV risk sexual behaviors.
Conclusions: AIAN women experience high rates of interpersonal violence and trauma that are associated with a host of health problems and have important implications for health and mental health professionals.