Development of a Screening and Brief Intervention Process for Symptoms of Psychological Trauma Among Primary Care Patients of Two American Indian and Alaska Native Health Systems

J Behav Health Serv Res. 2017 Apr;44(2):224-241. doi: 10.1007/s11414-016-9519-6.


American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) people experience high rates of acute, chronic, and intergenerational trauma. Traumatic experiences often increase the risk of both medical and behavioral health problems making primary care settings opportune places to screen for trauma exposure or symptomology. The objective of this study was to determine considerations and recommendations provided by patients, health care providers, health care administrators, and tribal leaders in the development of an adult trauma screening, brief intervention, and referral for treatment process to pilot at two large AI/AN primary care systems. A qualitative and iterative data collection and analysis process was undertaken using a community-based participatory research approach guided by a cross-site steering committee. Twenty-four leaders and providers participated in individual interviews, and 13 patients participated in four focus groups. Data were thematically analyzed to select a trauma screening instrument, develop a screening process, and develop brief intervention materials. The nature of traumas experienced in the AI/AN community, the need to develop trusting patient-provider relationships, and the human resources available at each site drove the screening, brief intervention, and referral process decisions for a future trauma screening pilot in these health systems.

MeSH terms

  • Alaskan Natives*
  • Community-Based Participatory Research
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American*
  • Mass Screening
  • Psychological Trauma / diagnosis*
  • Psychological Trauma / psychology
  • Psychological Trauma / therapy
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy