The Yup’ik Experiences of Stress and Coping project originated when rural Alaska Native communities expressed concerns about stress and its effects on health. The project’s goal is to better understand stress and coping in Yup’ik communities to inform a culturally-grounded stress-reduction intervention. Understanding local conceptions of stress that are grounded in the experiences and perceptions of the Yup’ik community participants is critical to achieving this goal. In this presentation, we will discuss how participants describe stress, what stress means to them, and how their personal understanding of stress and coping is embedded within the context of rapid cultural change that is affecting Yup’ik communities. Participants’ descriptions of what stress means to them included causes of stress, stressful experiences, stress that is hard to handle, responses to stress (emotions, physical responses, ‘trouble in the mind’), and broader family and community effects of stress. Many described current experiences of stress as being different than those of the past, with more serious consequences. Yup’ik communities have preserved many cultural traditions but have also experienced significant cultural change and loss. Participants reported experiencing considerable trauma, day-to-day stress, and cultural change. Nevertheless, they also described individual and community strengths and strategies to cope with many of these challenges. Activities that bring the community together, incorporate cultural traditions, and facilitate intergenerational connections were seen as essential elements for a strengths-based intervention focused on reducing community stress.
- Yup'ik communities,
- Cultural change,
- Responses to stress
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/joseph_trimble/19/