Help-seeking from indigenous healers among persons of African ancestry in the United States: Ethnic and racial disparities in mental and physical health.Complement Ther Med. 2019 Aug; 45:222-227.CT
Racial disparities in mental and physical health status are a persistent problem for people of African ancestry in the United States (U.S.). The current study seeks to determine whether indigenous help-seeking is related to ethnic and racial differences in health problems in persons of African ancestry.
Complex sampling produced a nationally representative sample of 3570 African Americans, 1623 Caribbean Blacks, and 1006 non-Hispanic Whites. All 3750 African Americans, 1438 (88.6%) African Caribbeans, and 891(88.6%) European Americans had relevant data for the current study. Respondents to the National Survey of American Life (NSAL) were studied with structural equation modeling (SEM) to evaluate a model of help seeking from "faith healers," "herbalists or rootworkers," or "astrologists or psychics." Mental and physical health were predicted by this indigenous help-seeking.
Consistent with the hypothesis, SEM analyses indicated better model fit for African Americans with greater similarly to African Caribbean respondents (r = .901, p = .001) than European Americans counterparts (r = -.332, p = .382) in measurement models. These analyses also showed African Americans' indigenous help-seeking was negatively correlated with lifetime diagnoses of any DSM psychiatric disorders but positively correlated with burden of chronic diseases. The association between indigenous help-seeking and professional diagnoses of chronic diseases was negative for Caribbean Blacks.
Culturally competent psychological or medical services by Western practitioners to people in the U.S Black population require attention to indigenous healing systems.