Understanding Native women's health: historical legacies

J Transcult Nurs. 2009 Jan;20(1):15-27. doi: 10.1177/1043659608325844. Epub 2008 Oct 7.


Purpose: Theoretical underpinnings of two theories are examined for their applicability in guiding practice and research when understanding Native American women's health outcomes.

Method: Published studies testing two independent theories, historical trauma and weathering, are reviewed. Key theoretical concepts that are applicable in the study of Native women and understanding their intergenerational heritage of injustice and cultural context are discussed.

Results: The authors infer underlying assumptions and definitions of both theories and present a hypothetical diagram blending both theories.

Conclusion: By understanding historical legacies and the surrounding context, researchers and clinicians can develop knowledge to improve and enhance optimal health outcomes and life opportunities for Native women.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Colonialism
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American* / psychology
  • Intergenerational Relations
  • Psychological Theory
  • Social Problems*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Women's Health / ethnology*