Reclaiming our spirits: Development and pilot testing of a health promotion intervention for indigenous women who have experienced intimate partner violence
Research in Nursing and Health
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Indigenous women are subjected to high rates of multiple forms of violence, including intimate partner violence (IPV), in the context of ongoing colonization and neo-colonization. Health promotion interventions for women who experience violence have not been tailored specifically for Indigenous women. Reclaiming Our Spirits (ROS) is a health promotion intervention designed for Indigenous women living in an urban context in Canada. In this paper, we describe the development of the intervention, results of a pilot study, and the revised subsequent intervention. Building on a theory-based health promotion intervention (iHEAL) showing promising results in feasibility studies, ROS was developed using a series of related approaches including (a) guidance from Indigenous women with research expertise specific to IPV and Indigenous women’s experiences; (b) articulation of an Indigenous lens, including using Cree (one of the largest Indigenous language groups in North America) concepts to identify key aspects; and (c) interviews with Elders (n10) living in the study setting. Offered over 6-8 months, ROS consists of a Circle, led by an Indigenous Elder, and 1:1 visits with a Registered Nurse, focused on six areas for health promotion derived from previous research. Pilot testing with Indigenous women (n21) produced signs of improvement in most measures of health from pre- to post-intervention. Women found the pilot intervention acceptable and helpful but also offered valuable suggestions for improvement. A revised intervention, with greater structure within the Circle and nurses with stronger knowledge of Indigenous women’s experience and community health, is currently undergoing testing.