Methods: 1893 female and 1735 male 7-12th grade AI students from 37 schools on or near reservations completed surveys during the 2016-2017 school years. With the sample split, EFA’s were conducted on the three target variables, followed by CFA’s, with tests for configural, metric, and scalar invariance across genders. The final CFA models were used to evaluate construct validity with structural relations to self-esteem and depression.
Results: EFA results indicated that cultural identification was best represented by four factors (AI traditions and way of life, non-AI traditions and way of life), ethnic pride by two factors (social pride and affective pride), and perceived discrimination by two factors (peer discrimination and adult discrimination). Due to EFA item instability in the perceived adult discrimination sub-factor of the perceived discrimination variable across genders, only the items tapping peer discrimination were retained for confirmatory and validation analysis. CFA results supported measurement invariance across genders for all latent variables. A structural model indicated that each of the targeted variables was associated with self-esteem and depression in the predicted directions, though the size of the associated varied across factors.
Conclusions: Two-factor measures for cultural identification, ethnic pride, and a one-factor measure of perceived peer discrimination were determined to be psychometrically sound and invariant across male and female American Indian students. Moreover, the identity-relevant variables demonstrated construct validity using a population-based sample of AI 7-12th grade students. Each of these identity-relevant factors would be useful in models of substance use etiology in at-risk AI youth.