Native American historical trauma stemming from colonization can be manifested into adverse outcomes. Although Native Americans face a number of disparities, it is imperative to take a more positive route in addressing their well-being. Through a positive psychology perspective, the current study examines the role of traditional and westernized healing practices and ethnic identity in Navajo Native American, or Diné, well-being. Navajo well-being was measured through an online survey utilizing three sub measures in the Ryff Psychological wellbeing scale: autonomy, self-acceptance, and purpose in life. Results found that engagement in traditional healing practices increased self-acceptance while engagement in westernized healing practices decreased purpose in life. Participants that did not live on the reservation report higher levels of autonomy.


Thelamour, Barbara




native american, historical trauma, navajo, well-being, positive psychology, healing, ethnic identity, autonomy, self-acceptance, purpose in life, reservation

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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