Discipline: Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
Subcategory: Social Sciences/Psychology/Economics
Darien McElwee - Emory University
The current study focuses on the Inuit of Nain, Labrador—an indigenous people inhabiting Arctic Canada. The Inuit face significant hardships such as high rates of domestic violence and suicide, food insecurity, and increasing loss of culture. For this reason, it is crucial to identify the characteristics of the individuals that community members are seeking help from with these challenges. This study had two purposes. The first was to examine Inuit self-perceptions of helpfulness. I hypothesized that if one perceives themselves as someone others seek for help, then many people truly seek the individual for help. The second was to investigate how differences in one’s social, cultural, and economic capital influence what types of problems community members ask for help with. I hypothesized that individuals with high social or cultural capital would be most highly sought for help. These data were collected as part of a larger research project which used Respondent Driven Sampling to recruit 334 community residents in Nain for social network interviews. Indegree (observed helpfulness) was calculated for each individual. 8 networks were coded into 5 helping networks: the aggregate network, household wellness, food access, economic assistance, and cultural assistance. 14 demographic variables were coded into 3 forms of capital: Social, Cultural and Economic. A multiple linear regression was conducted between each variable and the indegree in each helping network. My first hypothesis was supported. People that stated they were someone people seek for help had significantly higher indegrees in the aggregate helping network. My second hypothesis was partially supported. The effects of who one seeks for help based on the type of capital depends on the problem one is seeking help for. These findings highlight an important finding that when attempting to assist indigenous populations with their various hardships, it is important to consider that assistance with certain problems from a person with a certain social, cultural, or economic background may be more well-received than others. Future research on this topic should analyze hubs and authorities within the helping networks to investigate if people who are highly sought for help in the networks are connected. References: Collings, P. (2001). “If you got everything, it’s good enough”: Perspectives on successful aging in a Canadian Inuit community. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 16: 127-155. doi: 10.1023/A:1010698200870 Ford, J. D., & Beaumier, M. (2011). Feeding the family during times of stress: experience and determinants of food insecurity in an Inuit community. The Geographical Journal, 177(1), 44-61, doi:10.1111/j.1475-4959.2010.00374.x Kral, M. J., Wiebe, P. K., Nisbet, K., Dallas, C., Okalik, L., Enuaraq, N., & Cinotta, J. (2009). Canadian Inuit community engagement in suicide prevention. International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 68(3), 292-308. doi:10.3402/ijch.v68i
Funder Acknowledgement(s): This research was supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation Grant SMA 1757739 Social Network Analysis for Solving Minority Health Disparities. (PI: K Dombrowski, University of Nebraska-Lincoln). Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Science Foundation under the Award Number NSF ARC-0908155.
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Kirk Dombrowski, email@example.com
Role: Although the data on participant demographic variables and qualitative interview responses were provided by my research mentor and the Department of Sociology, I developed my own research question and completed all of the methods and analyses for my project. For example, I combined each of the networks into the 5 helping networks using a social network analysis software program called Pajek. Additionally, I conducted all correlations, indegree calculations, and the multiple linear regressions in R. I also completed my own literature review and drew the conclusions from my research.