Activity 3: Generational and legacy risk factors in Canada’s Aboriginal youth

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Topic Progress:


There are, of course, many important youth populations that we should consider. Unfortunately, time constraints limit us to a consideration of one predominant group of concern—Canadian Aboriginal youth. Substance abuse among individual Aboriginal people and communities in Canada is a significant health and social challenge and Aboriginal youth are at disproportionate risk for substance use disorders. The literature identifies significant risk factors for Aboriginal people, including poverty, low education, unemployment, unstable family structure, child abuse, and lack of social support networks.

In this activity, you are asked to consider some of the generational legacies for Aboriginal people. Childhood trauma is a significant factor in the etiology of addictions, as is the Indian Residential School. Both the Bombay et al. (2011) and Dion et al. (2010) articles provide good exploratory research studies into the heightened generational risk factors for Aboriginal youth to develop substance use disorders.

However, to develop effective substance use prevention programs, it is important to understand and explore the protective factors, particularly for vulnerable groups such as Aboriginal youth. The Rawana et al. (2012) article provides some useful insights into these protective factors.


  1. Read the following:
  2. Write a summary of 500–600 words that captures the generational risk factors for aboriginal youth and that identifies protective factors, which could be built into a prevention program.