Building Wellness and Resilience in Multi-Generational Indigenous Households: A Scoping Review

Nominated Principal Applicant: Dr. Cheryl Currie (University of Lethbridge)

Principal Applicants from Alberta: Dr. Linda Many Guns (University of Lethbridge)

Co-applicants from Alberta: Michelle Hoge (University of Lethbridge), 
                                           Tracy Oosterbroek (University of Lethbridge), 
                                           Rebecca Hudson-Breen (University of Lethbridge), 
                                           Janice Victor (University of Lethbridge)

Provinces involved: Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan

Project duration: 12 months

Project description:
The Canadian Aboriginal residential school system has adversely affected parenting skills and the success of many Indigenous families. These cross-generational experiences have been compounded by a lack of adequate housing. As a result, service providers face the challenge of working with families struggling with significant levels of trauma living in overcrowded multi-generational homes. Although such households represent the minority of families in Indigenous communities, the impacts of living under such circumstances are particularly challenging for both children and adults. Indigenous service providers have identified several barriers in their work to assist these families including a lack of access to research on evidence-based interventions. 

Research Questions: 
1. How do we enable families to support the health, well-being, and social success of individuals living within large multi-generational households? 
2. How do we enable individuals (both children and adults) to support their own health, well-being, and social success while living within large, multi-generational households? 
3. How do we optimize multidisciplinary teams, service integration, and coordination across community health and social services to meet the needs of Indigenous multi-generational households with complex needs (rural and urban)? 
4. What evaluative strategies and metrics are used to examine identified interventions?


Aligned with the priorities of Alberta:
1) This project will explore preventative and therapeutic interventions that are effective and efficient for Indigenous children and adults who are experiencing significant psychological and social trauma, and living in large, multi-generational homes.  
2) This project will examine inter-sectional and integrated care pathways for community-based Indigenous families who are coping with trauma and significant social dysfunction in overcrowded multi-generational homes. Indigenous service providers in Kainai Nation have identified inter-sectoral collaboration and the lack of an integrated funding model as significant barriers in their work to care for these families. This project will seek to identify interventions that promote inter-sectoral efforts, care pathways and funding models within the scientific literature. 
3) Much work has been published on the topic we are examining; however it has been published in disparate fields (medicine, Indigenous studies, psychology, social work, public health, and others) as well as even more broadly in the grey literature. There is need for a review article that assists our ability to utilize this health and social data to inform health and social system redesign, to ensure service providers have the tools to enable the success of Indigenous families, both urban and rural, who have experienced high levels of trauma.
Our next step, once this project is completed, will be to share these findings widely through the networks represented on our team, and work with Kainai Nation, as well as urban and rural Indigenous communities in BC and Saskatchewan, to launch evidence-based interventions identified through this intervention. We expect these spin off projects will be led by various knowledge users and investigators on our team. In short, we are working to develop a cross-province network of knowledge users and independent researchers working to address psychological and social trauma within Indigenous households.  


The Alberta SPOR PIHCIN will provide support for this project in the following areas:

  • Access to networking support in Alberta and nationally through the SPOR PIHCIN network of networks;
  • Methodology development support through the Alberta SPOR PIHCIN Coordinator and Tripartite Leads; 
  • Provide patient feedback on the LOI that was submitted in development of the grant proposal;
  • Facilitate any requested expertise from the seven Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit Platforms to ensure that integration from research into care has a significant positive impact for patients and the health care system. 

Conference presentation: (to be updated)

Publication: (to be updated)

Contact information:

Dr. Cheryl Currie
University of Lethbridge