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Heterogeneity in Risk and Protection among Alaska Native/American Indian and Non-Native Children


Austin, Anna E.; Gottfredson, Nisha C.; Marshall, Stephen W.; Halpern, Carolyn Tucker; Zolotor, Adam J.; Parrish, Jared W.; & Shanahan, Meghan E. (2020). Heterogeneity in Risk and Protection among Alaska Native/American Indian and Non-Native Children. Prevention Science, 21(1), 86-97. PMCID: PMC7364379


Currently, little is known about patterns of co-occurring risk and protective factors among young children. Understanding variations in co-occurring risk and protective factors among children in Alaska is important as experiences of collective trauma may contribute to differences in the intersection of risk and protective factors between Alaska Native/American Indian (AN/AI) and non-Native children. Using data from the Alaska Longitudinal Child Abuse and Neglect Linkage (ALCANLink) project, a linkage of the 2009-2011 Alaska Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System survey and administrative data sources, and the 2012-2014 Childhood Understanding Behaviors Survey, we conducted latent class analysis to identify classes of AN/AI (N = 593) and non-Native (N = 1018) children in terms of seven risk factors (poverty, maternal depression, maternal binge drinking, parental incarceration, intimate partner violence exposure, other violence exposure, child maltreatment) and four protective factors (father figure involvement, reading by adults, family meals, peer interactions) experienced prior to age 3 years. We identified two classes among AN/AI children: (1) high risk-moderate protection (29.1%) and (2) low socioeconomic status-high protection (70.9%). We identified two classes among non-Native children: (1) moderate risk-high protection (32.9%) and (2) low risk-high protection (67.1%). A test of invariance revealed that risk and protective factor probabilities differed significantly for corresponding classes of AN/AI and non-Native children. Overall, results demonstrate heterogeneity within and between AN/AI and non-Native children in early experiences of risk and protection and suggest that interventions will be more effective if tailored to the experiences and developmental needs of specific groups of Alaska children.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Prevention Science


Austin, Anna E.
Gottfredson, Nisha C.
Marshall, Stephen W.
Halpern, Carolyn Tucker
Zolotor, Adam J.
Parrish, Jared W.
Shanahan, Meghan E.

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