Adapting Communities That Care in Urban Aboriginal Communities in British Columbia: An Interim Evaluation


A considerable amount of research has been conducted on Aboriginal mental health and health promotion.  However, implementation and impacts of culturally relevant health promotion strategies have not been equally addressed. This article provides an interim evaluation of Connecting the Dots, an innovative project designed to support and promote the mental health of Aboriginal youth and families in urban areas in British Columbia. Connecting the Dots adapted the Communities that Care (CTC) model, a prevention planning program promoting positive youth development and reducing risk factors that predict youth’s future involvement in problem behaviors. This article devotes specific attention to the necessitated adaptations of the CTC model to promote cultural relevancy in urban Aboriginal communities. Evaluation findings suggest that Aboriginal communities can successfully adopt mainstream evidence-based programming, provided that programs permit adaptations to meet the communities’ needs. For urban Aboriginal communities, programs must be re-conceptualized so that the linear, western delivery model is transformed to a holistic and circular implementation approach congruent with Aboriginal worldviews. In the Connecting the Dots project, inclusion of traditional Aboriginal practices and key Aboriginal representatives were among the most well received model adaptations. Evaluation participants reported that the adaptations made to the CTC framework have been critical to sustainability.

Share and Cite:

Stubley, T. , Margolin, I. & Rojas, M. (2013). Adapting Communities That Care in Urban Aboriginal Communities in British Columbia: An Interim Evaluation. Sociology Mind, 3, 123-130. doi: 10.4236/sm.2013.32019.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] BC Stats (2006). Aboriginal profiles of British Columbia: 2006. URL.
[2] Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3, 77-101. doi:10.1191/1478088706qp063oa
[3] British Columbia Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (2012). About us. URL.
[4] Canadian Mental Health Association (2012). How we can help: Connecting the Dots. URL.
[5] Cochran, P. A. L., Marshall, C. A., Garcia-Downing, C., Kendall, E., Cook, D., McCubbin, L., & Gover, R. M. S. (2008). Indigenous ways of knowing: Implications for participatory research and community. American Journal of Public Health, 98, 22-27. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2006.093641
[6] Cohen, D., & Crabtree, B. (2008). Semi-structured interviews. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Qualitative Research Guidelines Project. URL.
[7] Flynn, R. J. (2008). Communities that care: A comprehensive system for youth prevention and promotion, and Canadian applications to date. URL.
[8] Hawkins, J. D., & Catalano Jr., R. F. (1992). Communities that care: Action for drug abuse prevention. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
[9] Hawkins, J. D., Catalano Jr., R. F., & Miller, J. Y. (1992). Risk and protective factors for alcohol and other drug problems in adolescence and early adulthood: Implications for substance abuse prevention. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 64-105. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.112.1.64
[10] Holmes, W. W., Stewart, P., Garrow, A., Anderson, I., & Thorpe, L. (2002). Researching Aboriginal health: Experience from a study of urban young people’s health and well-being. Social Science & Medicine, 54, 1267-1279. doi:10.1016/S0277-9536(01)00095-8
[11] Jamieson, L. M., Paradies, Y. C., Eades, S., Chong, A., Maple-Brown, L., Morris, P., Brown, A., et al. (2012). Ten principles relevant to health research among Indigenous Australian populations. The Medical Journal of Australia, 197, 16-18. doi:10.5694/mja11.11642
[12] Johnson, C. A. ( 1986). Prevention and control of drug abuse. In J. M. Last (Ed.), Maxcy-Rosenau public health and preventive medicine (pp. 1075-1087). Norwalk, CT: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
[13] Kirmayer, L. J., & Valaskakis, G. G. (2009). Healing traditions: The mental health of Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Vancouver: UBC Press.
[14] Limb, G. E., & Hodge, D. R. (2011). Utilizing spiritual ecograms with Native American families and children to promote cultural competence in family therapy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 37, 81-94. doi:10.1111/j.1752-0606.2009.00163.x
[15] O’Neil, M., Pederson, A., Dupéré, S., & Rootman, I. (2007). Health promotion in Canada: Critical perspectives (2nd ed.). Toronto: Canadian Scholar’s Press.
[16] Rice, W. (2011). Health promotion through an equity lens: Approaches, problems and solutions. Wellesley Institute. URL.
[17] Selltiz, C., Jahoda, M. L., Deutsch, M., & Stuart, S. W. (1967). Research methods in social relations. Toronto, ON: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
[18] Smith, L. T. (1999). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. London: Zed Books.
[19] Turnbull, A. P., Friesen, B. J., & Ramirez, C. (1998). Participatory action research as a model for conducting family research. Research and Practice for Persons with Disabilities, 23, 178-188. doi:10.2511/rpsd.23.3.178
[20] Walker, R., Cromarty, H., Kelly, L., & St Pierre-Hansen, N. (2009). Achieving cultural safety in Aboriginal health services: Implementation of a cross-cultural safety model in a hospital setting. Diversity in Health and Care, 6, 11-22.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.