International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 59, Issue 5, pp 739–748 | Cite as

Household crowding and psychosocial health among Inuit in Greenland

  • Mylène Riva
  • Christina Viskum Lytken Larsen
  • Peter Bjerregaard
Original Article



Poor housing conditions experienced by many Indigenous peoples threaten their health and well-being. This study examines whether household crowding is associated with poorer psychosocial health among Greenlanders, and the mediating role of social support. It also assesses whether Inuit men and women are differently influenced by their housing conditions.


Data on more than 3,000 Inuit aged 18 years and older are from the Inuit health in transition Greenland survey. Associations between household crowding and composition, and mental well-being and binge drinking were examined using logistic regression models, adjusting for individuals’ characteristics.


Household crowding was associated with poorer mental well-being. Binge drinking was more common among people living in households without children. These effects were more important for women than for men. The association between household crowding and mental well-being was significantly mediated by social support. This suggests that having a strong social network may buffer the deleterious impacts of household crowding.


Targeting housing conditions and fostering social support as part of population health interventions might contribute to improving psychosocial health and well-being in Greenland.


Indigenous health Inuit Housing Crowding Psychosocial health Greenland 



Financial support was received from Karen Elise Jensen’s foundation, NunaFonden and the Danish Medical Research Council. MR’s initial work on this paper was supported by a Banting postdoctoral fellowship awarded from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (funding reference number: BPF-112930). We would like to thank the participants who gave their time to be involved in this study. We also acknowledge the useful comments of two anonymous reviewers.

Supplementary material

38_2014_599_MOESM1_ESM.docx (43 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 43 kb)


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mylène Riva
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christina Viskum Lytken Larsen
    • 3
  • Peter Bjerregaard
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Social and preventive medicineUniversité LavalQuébecCanada
  2. 2.Population Health and Optimal Health Practices Research Unit, CHU de Québec Research CentreQuébecCanada
  3. 3.National Institute of Public HealthUniversity of Southern DenmarkCopenhagenDenmark
  4. 4.Greenland Centre for Health ResearchUniversity of GreenlandNuukGreenland

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