Journal of Public Health

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 467–478 | Cite as

The role of sense of community belonging on unmet health care needs in Ontario, Canada: findings from the 2012 Canadian community health survey

  • Philip BaidenEmail author
  • Wendy den Dunnen
  • Godwin Arku
  • Paul Mkandawire
Original Article



This article examines the association between sense of community belonging and unmet health-care needs among individuals in Ontario, Canada, after adjusting for predisposing, enabling, and need factors associated with health-service use.

Subjects and methods

This study is based on data from Statistics Canada’s 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey. A sample of 21,257 individuals aged 12 and older was analyzed. Logistic regression was conducted to examine the association between sense of community belonging and unmet health-care needs.


The study found that one in ten individuals reported having unmet health-care needs. Sense of community belonging had a significant independent effect on unmet health-care needs. Respondents with a weak sense of community belonging were 1.27 times more likely to report having unmet health-care needs. Respondents who were younger, were females, had a higher education, or were without a regular doctor were more likely to have unmet health-care needs. Other factors associated with unmet health-care needs included poor physical health, poor mental health, difficulties in carrying out instrumental activities of daily living, and chronic conditions.


The findings of this study emphasize the need to develop health-care policies and programs that appropriate and meet the needs of individuals with different health-related problems alongside the need to increase sense of community belonging.


Unmet health-care needs Sense of community belonging Access to health services Canadian community health survey 



This study was based on data collected by Statistics Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not represent the views of Statistics Canada. We thank the anonymous reviewers of this manuscript whose constructive suggestions and observations have considerably improved the manuscript.

Declaration of conflict of interest

The authors declared that they had no conflicts of interests with respect to their authorship or the publication of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip Baiden
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wendy den Dunnen
    • 2
  • Godwin Arku
    • 3
  • Paul Mkandawire
    • 4
  1. 1.Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social WorkUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.School of PsychologyUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Department of GeographyWestern UniversityLondonCanada
  4. 4.The Institute of Interdisciplinary StudiesCarlton UniversityOttawaCanada

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