The Role of Social Networks on Depression and Anxiety Among a Sample of Urban American Indian/Alaska Native Emerging Adults


Mental health inequalities continue to persist among American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) people. However, few studies have examined the association of social networks and depression and anxiety among urban emerging AI/AN adults.


This study analyzes the association of social network characteristics with depression and anxiety among a sample of urban AI/AN emerging adults. A second set of regression models tested the same associations but controlling for respondent sexual and gender minority (SGM) status. Data were from a sample of 150 AI/AN emerging adults residing in urban areas from 20 different states (86% female; mean age 21.8; 48.0% SGM) who participated in a randomized controlled trial analyzing the effects of culturally grounded interventions on alcohol and other drug use and cultural connectedness.


Participants with a higher proportion of network members who were around the same age reported significantly less anxiety. Those who had a higher proportion of network members who they sometimes/often argue/fight with were more likely to report greater depression and anxiety. Participants with higher proportions of social network members who have ever lived on a reservation/Rancheria/tribal land/tribal village reported significantly less depression. However, participants with higher proportions of social network members who lived 50 miles away or more reported significantly more depression. Controlling for SGM status, results were largely similar.


Results highlight the role of social connections on the mental well-being of urban AI/AN emerging adults.

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