Melissa Walls, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Biobehavioral Health and Population Sciences

Melissa Walls

Contact Info

Office Phone 218-726-8367

PhD, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Sociology), 2007

MA, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Sociology), 2004

BAS, University of Minnesota-Duluth (Psychology), 2002


My research involves community-based participatory research (CBPR) with American Indian and First Nations communities. A key theme in our collaborative work is to understand the historical and contemporary social determinants of health/mental health for Indigenous individuals and families. Current and previous projects include funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Tribal affiliation: Bois Forte and Couchiching First Nation Anishinabe



  • Walls, Melissa, Benjamin Aronson, Garrett Soper and Michelle Johnson-Jennings. 2014. The Prevalence and Correlates of Mental and Emotional Health among American Indian Adults with Type 2 Diabetes. The Diabetes Educator. Published online first, Feb. 21: doi: 10.1177/0145721714524282.
  • Whitbeck, Les, Kelley Sittner Hartshorn, Devan Crawford,Melissa Walls, Kari Gentzler & Dan Hoyt. 2014. Mental and substance use disorders from early adolescence to young adulthood among Indigenous young people: Final diagnostic results from an eight-year panel study. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. Published online first, Jan.14: doi 10.1007/s00127-014-0825-0.
  • Walls, Melissa, Dane Hautala and Jenna Feldmeier. 2014. “Rebuilding Our Community”: Hearing Silenced Voices on Aboriginal Youth Suicide. Transcultural Psychiatry, 51(1): 47-72.
  • Prunuske, Amy, Janelle Wilson,Melissa Walls and Ben Clarke. 2013. Mentors' Experiences Training Underrepresented Undergraduates in the Research Laboratory. Life Sciences Education, 12(3): 403-409.
  • Walls, Melissa, Kelley Sittner Harthorn and Les Whitbeck. 2013. North American Indigenous Adolescent Substance Use. Addictive Behaviors, 38 (5), 2103-2109.
  • Whitbeck, Les, Melissa Walls & Melissa Welch. 2012. Substance Abuse Prevention in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 38 (5): 421-427.
  • Walls, Melissa & Les Whitbeck. 2012. The Stressful Effects of Historical Cultural Losses. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 38 (5): 416-420.
  • Walls, Melissa and Les Whitbeck.2012.The Intergenerational Effects of Relocation Policies on Indigenous Families. Journal of Family Issues, 33: 1272-1293.
  • Kumar, Mohan, Melissa Walls, Teresa Janz, Peter Hutchinson, Tara Turner, & Catherine Graham. 2012. Suicidal Ideation among Metis Adult Men and Women – Associated Risk and Protective Factors: Findings From a Nationally Representative Survey. International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 71.
  • Walls, Melissa and Les Whitbeck. 2011. Distress among Indigenous North Americans: Generalized and Culturally Relevant Stressors.Society and Mental Health, 1(2), 124-136.
  • Walls, Melissa and Les Whitbeck. 2010 (April, online before print)/2011. Maturation, Peer Context, and Indigenous Girls' Early-Onset Substance Use. Journal of Early Adolescence, 30(4), 415-442.
  • Whitbeck, Les, Melissa Walls, Kurt Johnson, Allan Morrisseau, and Cindy McDougall. 2009. Depressed Affect and Historical Losses among North American Indigenous Adolescents. American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research: The Journal of the National Center, 16(3), 16-41.
  • Whitbeck, Les,Dan Hoyt, ManSoo Yu, and Melissa Walls. 2008. Diagnostic Prevalence Rates from Early to Mid-Adolescence among Indigenous Adolescents: First Results from a Longitudinal Study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 47, 890-900.
  • Walls, Melissa. 2008. Trajectories of American Indian Alcohol and Marijuana Use Across the Middle School Years. Journal of Drug Issues, 38(4), 1139–1160.
  • Walls, Melissa, Constance Chapple, and Kurt Johnson. 2007. Strain, Emotion, and Suicide among American Indian Youth. Deviant Behavior, 28(3), 219-246.
  • Walls, Melissa, Les Whitbeck, Dan Hoyt and Kurt Johnson 2007. Early-Onset Alcohol Use among Native American Youth: Examining Female Caretaker Influence. Journal of Marriage and Family, 69(2), 451-464.
  • Whitbeck, Les, Kurt Johnson, Dan Hoyt, and Melissa Walls. 2006. Prevalence and Comorbidity of Mental Health Disorders Among American Indian Children in the Northern Midwest. Journal of Adolescent Health, 39, 427-434.
  • Walls, Melissa, Kurt Johnson, Les Whitbeck, and Dan Hoyt. 2006. Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Preferences and Utilization Patterns among American Indian People of the Northern Midwest. Community Mental Health Journal, 42(6), 521-535.


  • 2014. Whitbeck, Les, Kelley Sittner Hartshorn, and Melissa Walls. Indigenous Adolescent Development: Psychological, Social and Historical Contexts. New York: Routledge.