Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2022

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Social Work

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Alaska Native mothers and their children are continually impacted by present day disparities resulting from decades of historical oppression. Indigenous women face a substantially greater risk for experiencing violence during pregnancy. Further, Alaska Native children are disproportionately represented in the child welfare system, including both overrepresentation in out of home care, and underrepresented in preventative and restorative services in comparison to the general population. The present work utilizes data from the Alaska Longitudinal Child Abuse and Neglect Linkage Project (ALCANLink) which follows children of Alaska mothers originally sampled in the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS). The ALCANLink is a longitudinal project which annually checks if children have been reported to child welfare or other social services from public programs within the state of Alaska. The present work also uses three-year follow-up data to the PRAMS in the Childhood Understanding Behaviors Survey (CUBS). There are a total of 1,236 Alaska Native mothers who responded to the PRAMS in Cohort 1 and 1,738 Alaska Native mothers who responded to the PRAMS in Cohort 2. Several outcomes of interpersonal violence, maternal-child health, and involvement with the child welfare system were assessed. Three outcomes of involvement with the child welfare system were evaluated. Child protective services (CPS) contact (report of alleged maltreatment regardless of screening or outcome determination) may serve as a proxy for potential or experienced harm to child, indicating child risk or vulnerability. Accounting for complex survey design, 21 total multilevel models were conducted to analyze these outcomes. Key independent variables include maternal interpersonal violence, mental health and substance use, socioeconomic status indicators, and maternal-child health measures like prenatal care and neonatal outcomes. Several significant associations emerged throughout the models. The most common pattern of interpersonal violence reported was surrounding pregnancy. Alaska Native mothers who experienced interpersonal violence surrounding their pregnancies were more likely to be reported for child maltreatment. This demonstrates the intergenerational impact of trauma as mothers who experienced violence surrounding pregnancy also had children who experienced some form of harm, thus leading to them being reported for child maltreatment. Native children in Alaska have high rate of child removal from their families and placement in out of home care, demonstrating a legacy of harm against Indigenous mothers and their children. Findings suggest the need of integrated care models that can connect mothers to social services to alleviate poverty, provide substance use treatment without criminalization, and ultimately treat trauma of both mothers and their children. In order to ensure the continuance of Native families and survivance of Native nations, it is vital to interrupt the transmission of intergenerational trauma.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Melissa Jonson-Reid

Committee Members

Bret Gustafson

Included in

Social Work Commons