Lisa Wexler

Lisa Wexler
University of Massachusetts Amherst | UMass Amherst · Health Promotion and Policy

PhD

About

74
Publications
85,276
Reads
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2,199
Citations
Citations since 2017
39 Research Items
1422 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023050100150200250300
2017201820192020202120222023050100150200250300
Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (74)
Article
Full-text available
Because suicide is deeply connected to local, historical and relational contexts, effective suicide prevention strategies must balance maintaining fidelity of evidence-based practices and adapting for the unique needs of diverse communities. Promoting Community Conversations About Research to End Suicide (PC CARES) builds the capacity of local peop...
Article
American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth, particularly males, experience disproportionately high rates of suicide compared to other young people in the United States. Therefore, enacting suicide prevention efforts for AI/AN youth is especially important. Since research shows that strengthening social, cultural, and emotional support can redu...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents how a community mobilization program to prevent suicide was adapted to an online format to accommodate the impossibility of in-person delivery in Alaska Native communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The intervention, Promoting Community Conversations About Research to End Suicide (PC CARES), was created collaboratively by res...
Article
While implementation and dissemination of research is a rapidly growing area, critical questions remain about how, why, and under what conditions everyday people integrate and utilize research evidence. This mixed-methods study investigates how participants of Promoting Community Conversations About Research to End Suicide (PC CARES) make sense of...
Article
Full-text available
Background Research on sustaining community-based interventions is limited. This is particularly true for suicide prevention programs and in American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) settings. Aiming to inform research in this area, this paper sought to identify factors and strategies that are key to sustain suicide prevention efforts in AIAN commun...
Article
The ongoing challenge of American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) youth suicide is a public health crisis of relatively recent historical origin inadequately addressed by contemporary prevention science. A promising development in AIAN suicide prevention highlights the role of protective factors. A protective factor framework adopts a social ecolog...
Article
Full-text available
Youth suicide is a significant health disparity in circumpolar indigenous communities, with devastating impacts at individual, family, and community levels. This study draws on structured interviews and ethnographic work with health professionals in the Alaskan Arctic to examine the meanings assigned to Alaska Native youth suicide, as well as the h...
Article
Background: The Alaska Native Community Resilience Study (ANCRS) is the central research project of the Alaska Native Collaborative Hub for Research on Resilience (ANCHRR), one of three American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) suicide prevention hubs funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. Objective: This paper describes the developme...
Article
Full-text available
Suicide is a significant health disparity among Alaska Native youth, which is linked to cultural disruptions brought about by colonialism and historical trauma. Many Indigenous suicide prevention efforts center on revitalizing and connecting youth to their culture to promote mental health and resilience. A common cultural approach to improve psycho...
Article
Full-text available
This paper introduces a new method for acquiring and interpreting data on cognitive (or perceptual) networks. The proposed method involves the collection of multiple reports on randomly chosen pairs of individuals, and statistical means for aggregating these reports into data of conventional sociometric form. We refer to the method as “perceptual t...
Data
Descriptive Statistics for the Northern Alaskan community network. (PDF)
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Multinomial Results: Makes positive changes in the community. (PDF)
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Multinomial Results: Helps young people in general. (PDF)
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Multinomial Results: Helps women who are having trouble at home. (PDF)
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Multinomial Results: Gives money food or other needed things to people who need them. (PDF)
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Multinomial Results: Are a positive influence on others in this community. (PDF)
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Multinomial Results: Helps people who tend to be left out. (PDF)
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The individual survey data, edge properties, and codebook are provided in S1_File.zip. (ZIP)
Data
Multinomial Results: Helps men who are having trouble at home. (PDF)
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Multinomial Results: Helps young people who are having trouble at home. (PDF)
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Multinomial Results: Act in ways that are good for the community. (PDF)
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Multinomial Results: Are willing to help out people who are in need. (PDF)
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Multinomial Results: Helps elders who are having trouble at home. (PDF)
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Multinomial Results: Is a member of a respected family. (PDF)
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Multinomial Results: Helps people with alcohol problems. (PDF)
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Multinomial Results: Helps people learn about traditional knowledge. (PDF)
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Multinomial Results: Will correct a young person if he or she is doing something wrong. (PDF)
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Multinomial Results: Gives good advice most of the time. (PDF)
Article
Full-text available
Indigenous communities across the Alaskan Arctic have experienced profound revisions of livelihood, culture, and autonomy over the past century of colonization, creating radical discontinuities between the lives of young people and those of their parents and Elders. The disrupted processes of identity development, access to livelihoods, and cross-g...
Article
Full-text available
The high rates of Indigenous youth suicide coincide with the rapid, imposed social changes, forced settlement, rapid modernization and national policies of cultural assimilation of the past several decades. Indigenous communities are responding in innovative and impactful ways.
Article
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Prevention and intervention work done within community settings often face unique analytic challenges for rigorous evaluations. Since community prevention work (often geographically isolated) cannot be controlled in the same way other prevention programs and these communities have an increased level of interpersonal interactions, rigorous evaluatio...
Article
Full-text available
Alaska Native (AN) youth suicide remains a substantial and recalcitrant health disparity, especially in rural/remote communities. Promoting Community Conversations About Research to End Suicide (PC CARES) is a community health intervention that responds to the need for culturally responsive and evidence-supported prevention practice, using a grassr...
Article
Full-text available
In the summer of 2014, students from universities in the contiguous United States (Lower 48) and Inupiat youth from Alaska carried out a pilot project as participants/co-researchers in a process called Intergenerational Dialog, Exchange, and Action (IDEA). This action-oriented, community-based, and participatory research method was first developed...
Article
Full-text available
Youth Leaders Program (YLP) is a health intervention implemented in a rural Alaskan school district, which utilizes natural helpers and peer leaders to increase protective factors such as school engagement and personal/cultural identities, and to reduce risks associated with drug/alcohol abuse, violence, and bullying. Through these means, the progr...
Article
Background: The values, perspectives, and behavior patterns that begin in adolescence can continue throughout one's life. Because of these lifetime effects, much research has focused on adolescent risk and prevention, but a new body of knowledge investigates protective factors and strengths. Positive youth development (PYD) increases internal and...
Article
Objectives: Suicide is a leading cause of death worldwide, and disproportionately affects Indigenous populations. Seasonal suicide patterns are variable in the literature, and could offer novel approaches to the timing and focus of prevention efforts if better understood. With a suicide surveillance system in place since 1989, this study offers an...
Article
It is critical to develop practical, effective, ecological, and decolonizing approaches to indigenous suicide prevention and health promotion for the North American communities. The youth suicide rates in predominantly indigenous small, rural, and remote Northern communities are unacceptably high. This health disparity, however, is fairly recent, o...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigates the perceived internal and external assets of indigenous youth and assesses how different protective variables relate to gender, age, and community size. A cross-sectional design captured self-report, protective-factor data from pre-adolescent and adolescent youth living in a rural region of Alaska in 2010. The convenient sa...
Article
Full-text available
As part of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention's American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) Task Force, a multidisciplinary group of AI/AN suicide research experts convened to outline pressing issues related to this subfield of suicidology. Suicide disproportionately affects Indigenous peoples, and remote Indigenous communities can o...
Article
Full-text available
Well-being is historically conceptualized in vague terms related to psychosocial variables and researched through the absence of poor health outcomes, including anxiety, depression, suicide risk, and poor overall mental health. However, recently, there has been a shift in the literature so that wellness scholarship includes basic rights and access...
Article
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The need for effective youth suicide prevention is uncontested, and is particularly urgent for Indigenous populations. The Indigenous youth suicide rates in some North American communities can be 18 times greater than for other young people. Despite the clear need, evidence in support of Indigenous youth suicide prevention strategies remain mixed....
Article
Full-text available
Arctic peoples today find themselves on the front line of rapid environmental change brought about by globalizing forces, shifting climates, and destabilizing physical conditions. The weather is not the only thing undergoing rapid change here. Social climates are intrinsically connected to physical climates, and changes within each have profound ef...
Article
This study explores how Inupiat youth’s cultural identity, shaped by access to cultural resources and participation in subsistence, is limited or expanded by access to economical resources. To understand how youth construct and negotiate their cultural identities given these constraints, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 20 Inupiat youth...
Article
Indigenous people living in the Circumpolar North rely, to varying degrees, on the natural environment and the resources it provides for their lifestyle and livelihoods. As a consequence, these Northern Indigenous peoples may be more sensitive to global climate change, which has implications for food security, cultural practices, and health and wel...
Article
Research has established connection between indigenous culture—often described in terms of cultural identity, enculturation, and participation in traditional activities—and resilience, the process by which people overcome acute and ongoing challenges. Despite correlations between culture and resilience, research has seldom described the ways these...
Article
Full-text available
This qualitative study of youth resilience takes place in an Alaska Native community, which has undergone rapid, imposed social change over the last three generations. Elders, and successive generations have grown up in strikingly different social, economic and political contexts. Youth narratives of relationships in the context of adolescent growt...
Conference Paper
Youth suicide is a significant problem particularly for Indigenous populations which have extremely high rates of suicide and suicidal behavior. One prevalent approach to prevention is gatekeeper training, a strategy to encourage early identification and referral of potentially suicidal youth to mental health services. Gatekeeper training is curren...
Article
Full-text available
Indigenous circumpolar youth are experiencing challenges of growing up in a context much different from that of their parents and their grandparents due to rapid and imposed social change. Our study is interested in community resilience: the meaning systems, resources, and relationships that structure how youth go about overcoming difficulties. The...
Article
Full-text available
Research has established connection between indigenous culture-often described in terms of cultural identity, enculturation, and participation in traditional activities-and resilience, the process by which people overcome acute and ongoing challenges. Despite correlations between culture and resilience, research has seldom described the ways these...
Article
Full-text available
This introduction to the Special Issue Indigenous Youth Resilience in the Arctic reviews relevant resilience theory and research, with particular attention to Arctic Indigenous youth. Current perspectives on resilience, as well as the role of social determinants, and community resilience processes in understanding resilience in Indigenous circumpol...
Article
Full-text available
Because of imposed rapid social change, Alaska Native youth are growing up in a context different from their elders and suffering far worse health and behavioral outcomes. This research seeks to understand (a) their everyday struggles and life challenges, (b) the practices and resources they rely on to get through challenges, and (c) the meaning th...
Article
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Using a positive youth development framework, this article describes how a 3-year digital storytelling project and the 566 digital stories produced from it in Northwest Alaska promote protective factors in the lives of Alaska Native youth and serve as digital "hope kits," a suicide prevention approach that emphasizes young people's reasons for livi...
Article
Full-text available
Suicide rates among American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) young people are significantly higher than other ethnic groups in the United States. Not only are there great differences when comparing AI/AN rates and those of other Americans, some tribal groups have very low rates of suicide while other Native communities have much higher rates. Desp...
Article
Full-text available
To better understand how young Alaska Native (Inupiaq) people are creatively responding to the tensions of growing up in a world markedly different from that of their parents and grandparents, the pilot study examined youth-produced digital stories as representations of their everyday lives, values, and identities. Two hundred and seventy-one youth...
Article
Full-text available
Indigenous communities have significantly higher rates of suicide than non-Native communities in North America. Prevention and intervention efforts have failed to redress this disparity. One explanation is that these efforts are culturally incongruent for Native communities. Four prevalent assumptions that underpin professional suicide prevention m...
Article
Full-text available
The broad goals of the community-based participatory research (CBPR) include community engagement, capacity building, developing practical solutions for community concerns and knowledge building. This article describes the data generation and sharing process as it relates to the goals of CBPR and health promotion in an American Indian/Alaska Native...
Article
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This report describes how multiple community constituents came together to work with university researchers on developing a shared agenda for studying young indigenous people in five international circumpolar communities. The paper focuses on the set up and process of an initial face-to-face methodological planning workshop involving youth and adul...
Article
Full-text available
The broad goals of the community-based participatory research (CBPR) include community engagement, capacity building, developing practical solutions for community concerns and knowledge building. This article describes the data generation and sharing process as it relates to the goals of CBPR and health promotion in an American Indian/Alaska Native...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Research has established robust correlations between affiliation and involvement in one's culture and positive health outcomes for American Indian/Alaska Native adolescents, yet few studies have explored the ways in which this link functions in young people's everyday lives. More specifically, there is a dearth of research investigating how individ...
Article
Full-text available
Community psychology emphasizes the importance of context in the study of people's lives, and culture influences this in profound ways. To develop programs that effectively address diverse communities' problems, it is essential to recognize how Euro-American human service systems are understood and responded to by the many different people being se...
Article
The public health research community has long recognized the roles of discrimination, institutional structures, and unfair economic practices in the production and maintenance of health disparities, but it has neglected the ways in which the interpretation of these structures orients people in overcoming them and achieving positive outcomes in thei...
Article
Full-text available
Alaska Native youth suffer disproportionately from suicide. Some researchers explain this by pointing to social disintegration brought on by rapid social change, but few make the connection to an ongoing colonialism explicit. This paper articulates some of the ways that colonial discourses affect Inupiat young people's self-conceptions, perceived c...
Article
Full-text available
Indigenous people have experienced profound disruptions, including epidemics, forced relocation, cultural colonization, and genocide over the past few centuries. Indigenous young people have not evenly understood or consciously articulated these historical events,1 but the behavioral health consequences for them have been well documented. These his...
Article
Factors correlated with suicidal behavior in a predominately Alaska Native region of Alaska are described, and the correlates relating to fatal and nonfatal suicide behaviors in this indigenous population are distinguished. Suicide data from the region (1990-2001) were aggregated and compared to 2000 U.S. Census Data using chi-squared tests. Multiv...
Article
Full-text available
In 2003 the age-adjusted suicide rate in Alaska (20.2 per 100,000) was the second highest in the country and nearly twice that of the U.S. all races population. The suicide rate among Alaska's Native population (35.1 per 100,000) was 1.7 times greater than the rate among all Alaskans and 3.3 times greater than the U.S. all races rate. This retrospe...
Article
Full-text available
To better understand youth and adult community members' perceived causes and possible preventative steps to address the high Inupiat youth suicide rates in Northwest Alaska. A five-item, open-ended survey focusing on community members' perceptions of suicide causes, warning signs, and protective factors was administered in the twelve Native village...
Article
Inupiat living in Northwest Alaska have one of the highest youth suicide rates in the world. Other circumpolar peoples share this disturbing distinction. This demographic and ethnic health disparity has spurred research that investigates acculturation stress as a cause of Inuit youth suicide. Despite this body of knowledge, few studies describe how...
Article
Full-text available
Native students must be taught to deconstruct their history of assimilation in order to understand their current struggles and to strengthen their cultural identity. As an example of this, the paper considers how community education was justified, carried out and implicated in Inupiat assimilation practices during the first 20 years that the U.S. B...

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Projects

Projects (4)
Archived project
Promoting Community Conversations About Research to End Suicide (PC CARES)
Project
This comparative, collaborative, and participatory circumpolar project aimed to explore responses to rapid social transition through the life experiences of circumpolar youth. The proposed study examined 100 youth life history narratives in an Alaska Inupiat, Alaska Yup’ik, Canadian Inuit, Norwegian Sámi, and Siberian Eveny community to identify shared and divergent stressors and patterns of resilience in the transition to adulthood. The study sought to identify cultural strategies and resources that characterize resiliency across two age groups ages 11-14 and 15-18, and across gender.