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Depression and anxiety in the reindeer-herding Sami population of Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
Southern Lapland Research Department.
Southern Lapland Research Department. (Arcum)
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry. (Arcum)
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2010 (English)In: International Journal of Circumpolar Health, ISSN 1239-9736, Vol. 69, no 4, 383-393 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objectives. The objective of this study was to investigate symptoms and predicting factors of depression and anxiety among reindeer-herding Sami in Sweden. Study design. A total of 319 reindeer-herding Sami (168 men, 151 women) were compared with urban and rural reference populations comprising 1,393 persons (662 men, 731 women). Methods. A cross-sectional questionnaire study on mental health, which included the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Data were analysed with regard to population, gender, age group, education and work-related stress. Results. The Sami population disclosed higher mean values for both depression and anxiety than the reference groups, with Sami men reporting the highest rates. Work-related stress was associated with anxiety and depression in the Sami group. Conclusions. By comparing Sami men and women with reference groups of men and women living in urban and rural areas in northern Sweden, this study identified that reindeer-herding Sami men require special attention with regard to mental health problems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oulu: International Association of Circumpolar Health Publishers , 2010. Vol. 69, no 4, 383-393 p.
Keyword [en]
Sami, Anxiety, Depression, Reindeer-herder, Sweden
National Category
Psychiatry
Research subject
Psychiatry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-43840ISI: 000283705400009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-43840DiVA: diva2:416414
Projects
Mental health among the reindeer-herding Sami population in Sweden
Available from: 2011-05-18 Created: 2011-05-11 Last updated: 2016-08-18Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Mental health problems among the Swedish reindeer-herding Sami population: in perspective of intersectionality, organisational culture and acculturation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mental health problems among the Swedish reindeer-herding Sami population: in perspective of intersectionality, organisational culture and acculturation
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall objective of the thesis was to investigate aspects of mental health among Swedish Sami reindeer herders and to deepen the understanding of the experience of the living conditions of young Sami reindeer-herding men. Theories of intersectionality, organisational culture and acculturation were used.

Methods A questionnaire covering different aspects of mental health was distributed to the Sami population, including the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test, selected parts of the Attitudes Towards Suicide questionnaire (ATTS) and the Job Control Questionnaire (JCQ). 15 interviews with young male reindeer-herders were conducted and analysed according to qualitative content analysis.

Results A higher load of anxiety and depression was found in the Sami population, most evident regarding anxiety and among middle aged reindeer-herding men. Regarding alcohol risk consumption reindeer-herding Sami do not in general drink more than a geographically matched reference population, but reindeer-herding men reported a higher proportion of hazardous drinkers, and of teetotallers and periodic drinkers. The reindeer-herding population reported significantly higher exposure to suicide and suicidal behaviour among significant others. Reindeer-herds also reported higher prevalence of different types of suicidal problems. The main theme that emerged in qualitative analysis was ‘Being a young reindeer herder means so many (impossible) dreams and conditions’, and the five subthemes were ‘Being inside or outside is a question of identity’, ‘There is a paradox between being free/unfree’, ‘An experience of different threats and a feeling of powerlessness’, ‘Specific norms for how a ‘real’ reindeer-herder should be’ and ‘The different impacts and meanings of relations’.

Conclusions The thesis hypothesizes that the reindeer-herding right as an including, excluding and enclosing historically induced border plays an important part when trying to understand the mental health problems in the group. At present, the situation within reindeer-herding is strained because of practical obstacles and feelings of unfairness and uninfluencability. Furthermore, lack of social support, except from the closest part of the family, and experiences of multi-layered conflicts. This – together with norms of reindeer-herding and reindeer-herders that e.g. say that the reindeer herder is a man who doesn’t show weakness – plays a role in the present mental health problems of the Swedish reindeer-herding population. This applies especially to young and middle-aged reindeer-herding men.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet, 2011. 67 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1430
Keyword
Sami, Swedish, reindeer-herding, mental health, anxiety, depression, alcohol, qualitative content analysis, intersectionality, acculturation, organisational culture.
National Category
Psychiatry
Research subject
Psychiatry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-43848 (URN)978-91-7459-235-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-06-10, Psykiatriska klinikens sal A, NUS, Norrlands universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Mental health among reindeer-herding Sami in Sweden
Available from: 2011-05-13 Created: 2011-05-12 Last updated: 2011-05-18Bibliographically approved

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