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October 2021

Cult Divers Ment Health. 1998 ; 4(2): 103-13.

Preferences of old and young Navaho Indians for Western and indigenous health care providers: an exploratory study.

Battistone ML, Hill RD, Peregoy JJ, Woltz DJ.

Department of Educational Psychology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City 84112, USA.

References for Western versus traditional health care providers were assessed in 27 older (M = 61.5 years) and 21 younger (M = 22.6 years) American Indians living on the Navaho reservation. Participants were read standardized vignettes depicting diagnosable physical and emotional illnesses, and they completed a series of forced-choice questions indicating their preference for traditional or Western health care providers for treating these conditions. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to assess health care provider preference with age, interviewer, and illness type as independent variables. Medical doctors were preferred over all other health care providers for physical problems, and this was particularly true for the younger group. Although it was anticipated that the older participants would favor traditional healers and the younger participants would prefer Western options, there was no main effect for age. This lack of differentiation by age in provider preference was interpreted in terms of informal utilization patterns and the role of the family referral system inherent in this group of indigenous adults.

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