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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 104, Supplement 6, pp S5–S11 | Cite as

Official Language Minority Communities in Canada: Is Linguistic Minority Status a Determinant of Mental Health?

  • Chassidy PuchalaEmail author
  • Anne Leis
  • Hyun Lim
  • Raymond Tempier
Quantitative Research

Abstract

Objectives

Language has been identified as a determinant of mental health. Within Canada, individuals may speak an official language and still belong within the linguistic minority (Francophones outside Quebec and Anglophones within Quebec). The objectives of this study were to compare mental health problems between minority and majority official language communities, and examine the association between official language minority and mental health problems.

Methods

Data from the Canadian Community Health Survey, Cycle 1.2 were used to make two comparisons: Francophones to Anglophones within Quebec, and Francophones to Anglophones outside Quebec. Twelve-month and lifetime prevalences of mental disorders (major depressive episode, anxiety disorders, and alcohol/substance abuse/dependence) and mental health indices were compared. Logistic regression analysis examined whether official language minority status was a determinant of mental health.

Results

Mental health between minority and majority language groups was similar. Official language minority status was not a significant determinant of mental health. Self-rated mental health indices varied between groups. In some cases, minority language groups reported lower levels of life satisfaction (minority Anglophones versus majority Francophones), while in other cases more majority Anglophones reported poor life satisfaction and mental health (majority Anglophones versus minority Francophones).

Conclusions

Overall, few differences were found between language groups, though variations in self-rated mental health indices were observed. In order to better understand the role of context in determining health outcomes, future research should examine mental health problems among official language minority groups provincially to help stakeholders in directing resources and programs to populations in most need.

Key Words

Mental disorders minority groups language prevalence 

Résumé

Objectifs

On sait que la langue est un important déterminant de la santé mentale. Au Canada, il est possible de parler une langue officielle tout en appartenant à une minorité linguistique (c’est le cas des francophones hors Québec et des anglophones du Québec). Les objectifs de notre étude étaient de comparer les problèmes de santé mentale des communautés de langue officielle minoritaire et majoritaire et d’examiner les associations entre le statut de minorité de langue officielle et les troubles de santé mentale.

Méthodes

Nous avons utilisé les données de l’Enquête sur la santé dans les collectivités canadiennes, cycle 1.2, pour faire deux comparaisons: entre les francophones et les anglophones du Québec, et entre les francophones et les anglophones hors Québec. Nous avons comparé les prévalences de certains troubles mentaux (accès dépressif majeur, troubles anxieux et toxicomanie/dépendance à l’alcool ou à d’autres substances) et les indices de santé mentale, sur 12 mois et sur toute la vie. Par analyse de régression logistique, nous avons cherché à déterminer si le statut de minorité de langue officielle était un déterminant de la santé mentale.

Résultats

La santé mentale des groupes linguistiques minoritaires et majoritaires était semblable. Le statut de minorité linguistique officielle n’était pas un déterminant significatif de la santé mentale. Les indices de la santé mentale autoévaluée variaient d’un groupe à l’autre. Dans certains cas, des groupes linguistiques minoritaires ont déclaré des niveaux inférieurs de satisfaction de vivre (anglophones minoritaires par rapport aux francophones majoritaires), tandis que dans d’autres, les anglophones majoritaires ont été plus nombreux à déclarer de faibles niveaux de satisfaction de vivre et de santé mentale (anglophones majoritaires par rapport aux francophones minoritaires).

Conclusions

Globalement, nous avons observé peu de différences entre les groupes linguistiques, mais des écarts dans les indices de la santé mentale autoévaluée. Pour mieux comprendre le rôle du contexte dans la détermination des résultats sanitaires, les recherches futures devraient porter sur les troubles de santé mentale au sein des minorités de langue officielle à l’échelle provinciale afin d’aider les acteurs du milieu à orienter les ressources et les programmes vers les populations qui en ont le plus besoin.

Mots Clés

troubles mentaux minorités langage prévalence 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chassidy Puchala
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anne Leis
    • 2
  • Hyun Lim
    • 2
  • Raymond Tempier
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, College of Medicine, Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research UnitUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatchewanCanada
  3. 3.Montfort Hospital Research InstituteUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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