Researcher ORCID Identifier

Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Theodore Bartholomew

Reader 2

Heejung Park

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Rights Information

© 2024 Jamie D Morales


American Indians/American Natives (AI/AN) disproportionately experience adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) than other populations. Within AI/ANs, mental health issues associated with ACEs are prevalent, particularly psychological distress effects that can last across the lifespan. Prior research has demonstrated positive outcomes related to buffering psychological distress in early school interventions, notably based on social-emotional learning (SEL), like the Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) program. However, the present literature lacks research on the effects of school interventions for AI/AN children. This study thus aims to examine the efficacy of a culturally sensitive early school intervention centered on SEL in decreasing psychological distress, as characterized by anxiety and depressive symptoms, in AI/AN children, particularly for those who have experienced ACEs. With the support of AI/AN stakeholders, a 2x3x3 Mixed Model ANOVA design will compare the standard PATHS and a modified AI/AN culturally sensitive PATHS administered to Lakota first-graders. Assessments of anxiety and depression will occur at pre-intervention, post, and a three-month follow-up. It is hypothesized that child participants administered the culturally sensitive PATHS intervention will report a greater decrease in psychological distress from pre-intervention, via anxiety and depressive symptoms, than participants of the standard PATHS at post and follow-up. It is also hypothesized that this association will be evident in child participants who reportedly experienced greater ACEs. This study will expand knowledge on the efficacy of culturally sensitive school interventions for the current scholarly base and raise awareness of ACEs disparities in AI/AN populations, thus potentially enhancing the well-being of AI/AN children.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.