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Investigating Disparities in Behavior and Care Between Alaska Native and White Victims of Sexual Violence: The Importance of Culturally Competent Nursing Care

NCJ Number
Date Published
44 pages

This thesis presents research on health disparities experienced by Alaska Native population and cultural competence of sexual assault nurse examiners, with a description of the methodology, variables and statistical analysis, examination of data, a discussion section followed by policy implications, and a note on limitations of the research, as well as reference cited and an appendix containing tables.



The research presented in this thesis aimed to determine the existence of health care disparities in the treatment of Alaska Native women victims of sexual violence compared to white women victims, and address the need for sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) to provide culturally competent nursing care. The specific research questions addressed in this study compared multiple variables between Alaska Native and white women victims of sexual violence: behaviors during examination; condition during assault; time from assault to report; hospital admittance; injuries experienced; victim-suspect relationship; and the decision to engage in intercourse following assault. The author hypothesized that significant differences would be noted between the Alaska Native and white women victims, and performed a secondary data analysis of research collected from over 1,600 Alaska Sexual Nurse Examiner surveys conducted by SANEs between 1996-2006. The variables explored in this study included demographic characteristics of victims, assault characteristics, post-assault characteristics, exam characteristics and findings, and suspect characteristics. A univariate analysis was completed to describe the victims’ socio-demographic characteristics, and a bivariate analysis was performed to test the hypotheses. Results demonstrated that, compared to white women, Alaska Natives were less controlled and less cooperative during examinations; Alaska Native women were more likely to be alcohol intoxicated at assault and more likely to experience traumatic injuries. The author concludes that Alaska Native women are different from white women victims in several aspects, including different behaviors and reactions to trauma. The author recommends that cultural competency training should be included in the preparation curriculum for SANEs working with the Alaska Native population, and urges SANEs to collaborate with cultural groups to ensure culturally sensitive care.


Date Published: January 1, 2015