Date of this Version
Published in Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 2023
A large body of empirical research has demonstrated that caregiver adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) predict ACEs in one’s child, a phenomenon known as the intergenerational transmission of ACEs. Little of this empirical research, however, has focused specifically on Indigenous peoples despite a growing body of theoretical literature and the wisdom of Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers that speaks to the presence of this phenomenon within Indigenous communities as well as the protective role of Indigenous cultural identity in preventing the intergenerational transmission of ACEs. The purpose of the current study was to conduct an empirical evaluation of this hypothesis, specifically that Indigenous cultural identity and social support protects against the intergenerational transmission of ACEs among Indigenous peoples and their children in the USA. Participants were 106 Indigenous women caregivers of children ages 10 to 14 in South Dakota who completed surveys. Results showed that Indigenous cultural identity moderated the association between caregiver ACEs and child ACEs. At high levels of cultural identity, there was no association between caregiver ACEs and child ACEs. At low levels of Indigenous cultural identity, however, there was a strong and positive relationship between caregiver ACEs and child ACEs. Social support did not moderate the association between caregiver ACEs and child ACEs. These findings underscore the need for initiatives that enhance Indigenous cultural identity and social support among Indigenous caregivers to prevent the intergenerational transmission of ACEs.