Very little is known about processes contributing to depressive experiences in American Indian youth. We explored the relationship between value priorities and depressive symptoms among 183 (65% female) American Indian youth in grades 9-12. In addition, two potential moderators of this relationship were examined: value outcome expectations (i.e., whether one expects that values will be realized or not) and perceived community values. We found that American Indian youth who endorsed higher levels of tradition/benevolence values reported fewer depressive symptoms. However, the relationship between endorsing power/materialism values and depressive symptoms depended on the extent to which youth perceived their communities as valuing power/materialism. Finally, value outcome expectancies appeared to relate more strongly to depressive symptoms than did value priorities. Overall, these findings support tribal community efforts to impart tradition/benevolence values to American Indian youth but also emphasize the importance of attending to value outcome expectations and the perceived values of the community in understanding American Indian youth's depressive experiences.
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