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Minerals 2011, 1(1), 30-48; doi:10.3390/min1010030
Article

Mental Health, Cardiovascular Disease and Declining Economies in British Columbia Mining Communities

1,3,* , 2
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1 Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering, University of British Columbia, 5th Floor, 6350 Stores Road, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada 2 School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, 2206 East Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada 3 Geography Department, University of Victoria, PO Box 3060 STN CSC, Victoria, BC V8W 3R4, Canada 4 Professor Emeritus, Department of Human Ecology, University of Alberta, 302 Human Ecology Building, Edmonton, AB T6G 2N1, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 September 2011 / Revised: 3 October 2011 / Accepted: 21 October 2011 / Published: 28 October 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safety & Health in Mining)
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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between community-level exposure to changes in economic conditions and the incidence and prevalence of mental disorders and cardiovascular disease in 29 resource-based communities (with a focus on mining communities) in British Columbia (BC) during a period of time marked by an economic downturn (1991–2002) The investigation relied on Labour Force Survey (LFS) and Statistics Canada Census data, and health records from the British Columbia Ministry of Health (MoH). Age and sex adjusted prevalence and incidence rates were calculated for each community from 1991 to 2002 and the development of an economic change indicator defined using Census data and industry/government documents allowed for yearly assessment of community-level exposure to economic conditions. The relationship between exposure to economic change and rates of acute and chronic cardiovascular disease and mental disorders across the 29 study communities was investigated using a generalized linear model (stratified by type of community, and adjusted for the effect of the community). Findings indicate an impact on the prevalence rates for acute cardiovascular disease (CVD) during periods of economic decline (rate increased by 13.1 cases per 1,000 population, p < 0.0001 as compared with stable periods) and bust conditions (rate increased by 30.1 cases per 1,000 population, p < 0.0001 as compared with stable conditions) and mental disorders (rate increased by 13.2 cases per 1,000 population, p = 0.0001) in mining communities during declining economic conditions as compared to steady periods of mining employment. This is not observed in other resource-based communities. The paper concludes by highlighting implications for the mining industry to consider as they begin to recognize and commit to mining community health.
Keywords: mining; community health; sustainable development; mental illness; cardiovascular disease mining; community health; sustainable development; mental illness; cardiovascular disease
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Shandro, J.; Koehoorn, M.; Scoble, M.; Ostry, A.; Gibson, N.; Veiga, M. Mental Health, Cardiovascular Disease and Declining Economies in British Columbia Mining Communities. Minerals 2011, 1, 30-48.

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