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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 99, Issue 5, pp 411–417 | Cite as

Exploring Aboriginal Views of Health Using Fuzzy Cognitive Maps and Transitive Closure

A Case Study of the Determinants of Diabetes
  • Brian G. Giles
  • G. Haas
  • M. Šajna
  • C. S. FindlayEmail author
Article
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

Objectives

To demonstrate how fuzzy cognitive maps may be used to extract, present and compare Aboriginal perspectives, using the determinants of diabetes as a case study.

Methods

Participants from the Mohawk Community of Akwesasne and the Miawpukek First Nation in Conne River created fuzzy cognitive maps (FCMs) (N=3) detailing their views of “the causes of diabetes in their community”, through a facilitated, group mapping session. For each FCM, the net causal effect of every determinant (direct or indirect) on diabetes was calculated from its transitive closure. The net causal effects were then compared across the set of FCMs to identify strong, weak and controversial determinants.

Results

Comparison of FCMs revealed significant heterogeneity in the perspectives of diabetes. The Akwesasne participants focused heavily on social, traditional and spiritual factors, while Conne River participants placed more importance on direct personal and lifestyle factors. There was, however, a core of strong, validated determinants related primarily to healthy diet and physical activity.

Conclusions

This work demonstrates how FCM may be used to extract and represent different perspectives of complex issues allowing for comparisons among stakeholders or knowledge groups. Comparison of multiple FCM employing the transitive closure may then be used to identify areas of agreement and controversy.

Key words

Knowledge Native American NIDDM social medicine 

Résumé

Objectifs

Montrer comment les cartes cognitives floues peuvent être utilisées pour extraire, présenter et comparer des perspectives autochtones. Ici, ces perspectives ont porté sur les déterminants du diabète.

Méthode

Lors d’une séance de cartographie de groupe facilitée par un animateur, des participants de la communauté mohawk d’Akwesasne et de la Première nation Miawpukek de Conne River ont créé des cartes cognitives floues (CCF) (N=3) décrivant selon leurs points de vue « les causes du diabète dans leur communauté ». À partir de la fermeture transitive de chaque CCF, nous avons calculé l’effet causal net de chaque déterminant (direct ou indirect) sur le diabète. Les effets causals nets ont ensuite été comparés d’une CCF à l’autre pour repérer les déterminants forts, faibles et controversés.

Résultats

La comparaison des CCF a mis en évidence une grande hétérogénéité dans les perspectives du diabète. Les participants d’Akwesasne ont beaucoup insisté sur les facteurs sociaux, traditionnels et spirituels, tandis que ceux de Conne River ont accordé plus d’importance aux facteurs personnels directs et au mode de vie. Nous avons néanmoins extrait un solide noyau de déterminants validés, surtout liés à l’alimentation saine et à l’activité physique.

Conclusion

Ce travail montre comment on peut utiliser les CCF pour extraire et représenter des questions complexes selon différentes perspectives, et ainsi établir des comparaisons entre des intervenants ou des groupes détenant un savoir. La comparaison de multiples CCF par une opération de fermeture transitive peut ensuite servir à dégager des zones d’accord et de désaccord.

Mots clés

savoirs Amérindiens diabète de type II médecine sociale 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian G. Giles
    • 1
  • G. Haas
    • 1
  • M. Šajna
    • 2
  • C. S. Findlay
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of the EnvironmentUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsUniversity of OttawaCanada
  3. 3.Ottawa-Carleton Institute of BiologyUniversity of OttawaCanada

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