Drug and Alcohol Policies at Tribal Colleges: A Descriptive Study Assessing Variations in Alcohol and Drug Policy by Setting
Martin, Katie Jo
MetadataShow full item record
Background: Alcohol and drug (AOD) use represent an important public health issue among college students that has serious implications for both academic success and personal health. Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) are a unique network in higher education that serves many American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) college students and their communities. This study aims to address a gap in the literature regarding the relationship of TCU AOD policies, policy enforcement, and substance use at TCUs and among students at these institutions of various sizes and in various community AOD policy contexts. It is hoped that this analysis will allow for further study and development of holistic interventions for harmful alcohol and drug use patterns that might reach both TCU students and the communities in which they exist. Methods: Using, cross-sectional perceptions survey data drawn from TCUs participating in the Tribal Colleges and Universities: Drug and Alcohol Problems and Solutions Study (TCU-DAPSS) (Duran et. al), relationships between TCU size, TCU AOD policy, On-campus housing options, and nearest reservation AOD policy, and faculty/student perceptions of enforcement were assessed. Analysis was performed on both an institutional level as well as individual level, based upon data drawn from a purposeful sampling of TCU faculty, students, and key informants. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), Pearson’s chi-squared test, Fishers Exact test were used for bivariate analysis of relationships between different independent and dependent variables, with ordinal logistic regression used for continuous predictors measured against a categorical outcome assumed to be of an ordered nature. Results: No relationships of significance were found between TCU size and TCU AOD policy type, AOD related prevention resources and treatment services, and perceptions of AOD treatment. On campus housing did vary significantly by school size (p = 0.012), with more housing at larger schools, and suggestive but not statistically significant relationships noted between presence of housing and TCU AOD policy type. TCU Faculty perceptions of bootlegging at a given TCU appeared to increase where reservation AOD policies were perceived to be more lenient (p = <0.005). At smaller TCUs, faculty perceived that TCU AOD policy was more strongly enforced with an increase of 100 students in size of institution resulted odds being 1.06 (95% C.I.=1.00,1.10; p=0.03) times greater that faculty perceptions of enforcement fell into a lower enforcement category. Conclusion: TCU size did not appear related TCU AOD policy, though it did appear related to presence of on campus housing (larger schools with more housing). Results suggested that housing could be related to TCU AOD policy, with stricter policies at schools with on-campus housing. In regards to enforcement of policy, faculty perceptions of TCU AOD policy enforcement did vary by TCU size, with data suggesting that at larger schools faculty feel enforcement is poorer. Similarly, while nearest reservation AOD policy did not predict student perceptions of likelihood of bootlegging at their TCU, faculty felt that presence of bootlegging was decreased where reservation AOD policy was more lenient. This data is both descriptive in nature and suggestive, particularly in regards to mismatched perceptions between faculty and students in regards to AOD issues at TCUs. TCUs are an important but rarely studied network. AOD issues and policy in these settings have deep and varied historical policy contexts that represent the diversity of the populations they seek to serve. More studies are needed to address complex questions of AOD policy in Indian Country, TCU AOD policy, and strategies to support AI/AN students in these settings.
- Health services