Household crowding and psychosocial health among Inuit in Greenland

Abstract

Objectives

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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

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Acknowledgments

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.

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Correspondence to Mylène Riva.

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Riva, M., Larsen, C.V.L. & Bjerregaard, P. Household crowding and psychosocial health among Inuit in Greenland. Int J Public Health 59, 739–748 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00038-014-0599-x

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Keywords

  • Indigenous health
  • Inuit
  • Housing
  • Crowding
  • Psychosocial health
  • Greenland