Social Indicators Research

, Volume 73, Issue 2, pp 295–312 | Cite as

Health And Quality Of Life Of Aboriginal Residential School Survivors, Bella Coola Valley, 2001

  • Sylvia S. BartonEmail author
  • Harvey V. Thommasen
  • Bill Tallio
  • William Zhang
  • Alex C. Michalos


The purpose of this study was to make comparisons between Aboriginal residential school survivors’ perceptions of health status and overall quality of life, and Aboriginal non-residential school attendees, as well as between non-Aboriginals. Data were obtained from thirty-three questions derived from the 2001 Determinants of Health and Quality of Life Survey, based on a sample of 687 residents from the Bella Coola Valley area of British Columbia, Canada. A retrospective review of local Medical Clinic charts enabled 47 Aboriginal residential school survivors to be identified from the survey and matched, based on age and gender, with Aboriginal non-residential school attendees to form a cohort (n = 60), as well as with non-Aboriginals (n = 94). A series of descriptive, univariate, and Pearson Chi-square analyses were used to compare data of health status and quality of life outcome measures, physician visits, and disease prevalence rates between groups. The findings suggest that Aboriginal residential school survivors and Aboriginal non-residential school attendees both experience poorer health and quality of life compared to non-Aboriginals, as well as higher rates of diabetes. Surprisingly, also found was evidence contrary to the received view of the devastation of the residential school experience. The effects of residential school continuing to influence second, third, and fourth generations in relation to Aboriginal health and quality of life is complex, necessitating further inquiry.


Aboriginal health comparative analysis design inequality residential schooling quality of life 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sylvia S. Barton
    • 1
    Email author
  • Harvey V. Thommasen
    • 2
  • Bill Tallio
    • 3
  • William Zhang
    • 4
  • Alex C. Michalos
    • 5
  1. 1.University of Northern British ColumbiaPrince GeorgeCanada
  2. 2.UBC Faculty of MedicinePrince GeorgeCanada
  3. 3.Nuxalk Nation, Health and Wellness CoordinatorBella CoolaCanada
  4. 4.University of Northern British ColumbiaPrince GeorgeCanada
  5. 5.Institute for Social Research and EvaluationUniversity of Northern British ColumbiaPrince GeorgeCanada

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