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Food insecurity and psychological distress in Inuit adolescents of Nunavik

  • Maude Bradette-Laplante (a1), Yohann Courtemanche (a1), Mireille Desrochers-Couture (a1), Nadine Forget-Dubois (a1), Richard E Bélanger (a1) (a2), Pierre Ayotte (a1) (a3) (a4), Joseph L Jacobson (a5), Sandra W Jacobson (a5) and Gina Muckle (a1) (a6)...

Abstract

Objective:

The present study aims at measuring the association between household food insecurity and psychological distress in adolescents in Inuit communities, concurrently and overtime from childhood to adolescence.

Design:

The study used measures of internalising behaviours (anxiety, withdrawn attitude, somatic complaints and depression) as indicators of psychological distress during adolescence, a concurrent measure of household food insecurity in adolescence and an assessment of longitudinal patterns of household food insecurity from childhood to adolescence. We collected descriptive information at birth, childhood and adolescence on potential confounders.

Setting:

Inuit communities of Nunavik in northern Quebec, Canada

Participants:

The study consisted of 212 participants from the Nunavik Child Development Study, who have been assessed at birth, childhood (mean age = 11 years, range = 9–13 years) and adolescence (mean age = 18 years, range = 16–21 years).

Results:

Concurrent severe household food insecurity in adolescence was associated with higher measures of psychological distress: depression (βstd = 0·26, P < 0·01) and withdrawn attitude (βstd = 0·20, P = 0·04). Persistent household food insecurity (both at childhood and adolescence) was associated with higher levels of adolescent depression (βstd = 0·18, P = 0·02) and anxiety (βstd = 0·17, P = 0·03).

Conclusions:

Adolescents from Nunavik living with higher food insecurity and those having experienced food insecurity in both childhood and adolescence were more likely to report symptoms of psychological distress. Considering the high level of distress experienced by young Inuit, existing initiatives to reduce food insecurity in Nunavik communities should be targeted to include children and adolescents.

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email gina.muckle@psy.ulaval.ca

References

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Food insecurity and psychological distress in Inuit adolescents of Nunavik

  • Maude Bradette-Laplante (a1), Yohann Courtemanche (a1), Mireille Desrochers-Couture (a1), Nadine Forget-Dubois (a1), Richard E Bélanger (a1) (a2), Pierre Ayotte (a1) (a3) (a4), Joseph L Jacobson (a5), Sandra W Jacobson (a5) and Gina Muckle (a1) (a6)...

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