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Int J Circumpolar Health. 2018 Dec;77(1):1541395. doi: 10.1080/22423982.2018.1541395.

Household overcrowding and psychological distress among Nunavik Inuit adolescents: a longitudinal study.

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1
a School of Psychology , Laval University , Québec , Canada.
2
b Department of Geography , McGill University , Montréal , Canada.

Abstract

About half of Nunavik Inuit live in overcrowded households compared to very few Canadians from the general population. Living in overcrowded households is associated with greater risks of suffering from mental health problems for Canadian adolescents. The present work aims at studying prospectively the hypothesised relationship between household overcrowding at childhood and psychological distress during adolescence among Nunavik Inuit, as well as the hypothesised relationship between these phenomena when they are both measure at adolescence. Recruited as part of the Nunavik Child Development Study, 220 participants were met at 11 years old in average and then when they were 18 years old in average. Household overcrowding was assessed using the people per room ratio. Psychological distress symptoms were operationalised at adolescence using depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts. The results did not show that childhood household crowding had a long-term effect on psychological distress. An absence of moderation by sex of the association was also found in the present study. Despite those results, household crowding could be a risk factor only when in interaction with other elements related with poverty or housing or could be experienced as a difficulty for adolescents on other aspects than depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts.

KEYWORDS:

Household overcrowding; Inuit; Nunavik; adolescents; depressive symptoms; housing; psychological distress; suicidal thoughts

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