Did you know that a study published just a few years ago showed that CHamorus had higher rates of psychological distress than any other demographic living on Guam?
Jonathan Unpingco Guerrero, a 35-year-old doctoral student in the Clinical Community Psychology Program at the University of Alaska at Anchorage, is investigating these findings in his current research project and needs help.
Until August 20th, CHamorus around the world are invited to participate in an anonymous online survey.
The study, published in the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health in 2019, was entitled “Ethnic Inequality in Psychological Distress: A Demographic Data Linkage Study on the Pacific Island of Guan/Guam.”
The study is based on data from the Guam Census and the Guam Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System Health Survey.
It references past research that has shown that indigenous peoples under colonial rule experienced higher levels of psychological distress, similar to immigrants living in sovereign countries.
They also found that CHamorus had a higher risk of emotional distress and suicide than Guam’s Caucasian/Caucasian and other Pacific Islander populations.
Guerrero, who received a master’s degree in clinical psychology from the University of Guam in 2012, said more data on the CHamoru population is needed to understand why this is happening.
The former Dededo resident believes his research will help fill a gap in traditional clinical psychology regarding CHamorus. He also sees his research as a way for CHamorus to support each other’s mental health.
The survey asks a series of questions about their heritage, attitudes toward social groups, and how they generally feel about their experiences with anxiety and depression.
“Colonialism is just one form of internalized oppression that people have long written about outside psychology,” Guerrero said.
He added that while internalized repression has been studied in other fields, there is little literature in psychology on “the psychological consequences that arise from different types of repression.”
“Colonial thinking can be broken down into how we view our physical characteristics. Whatever it is, we want lighter skin because it looks like our colonists.
Guerrero uses the findings to publish a paper. After graduation, he plans to return to Guam to further develop programs that contribute to community health.
“The more I know about myself, the more I can create programs that are meaningful to myself and my values,” Guerrero said.
Participants must be over the age of 18 and take the time to complete the survey. This requires introspection.
You can check out the research at bit.ly/3ddAYN5. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions about your rights to participate in research, please email email@example.com or call 907-786-1099.
People who are distressed by being investigated can contact the 24-hour National Suicide and Crisis Helpline (988).