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Open AccessArticle

Impacts of Environmental Changes on Well-Being in Indigenous Communities in Eastern Canada

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École d’études Autochtones, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Rouyn-Noranda, QC J9X 5E4, Canada
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Institut de Recherche sur les Forêts, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Rouyn-Noranda, QC J9X 5E4, Canada
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Département des Sciences du Développement Humain et Social, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Rouyn-Noranda, QC J9X 5E4, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 637; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020637
Received: 20 December 2019 / Revised: 14 January 2020 / Accepted: 16 January 2020 / Published: 19 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indigenous Health Wellbeing)
Climate change and natural resource exploitation can affect Indigenous people’s well-being by reducing access to ecosystem services, in turn impeding transmission of traditional knowledge and causing mental health problems. We used a questionnaire based on the Environmental Distress Scale (EDS) and the Connor–Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC-10) to examine the impacts of environmental changes on 251 members of four Indigenous communities in the eastern Canadian boreal forest. We also considered the potential mitigating effects of sociodemographic characteristics (i.e., age, gender, parenthood, and time spent on the land) and protective factors (i.e., health, quality of life, resilience, life on the land, life in the community, and support from family and friends). Using linear regression, model selection, and multi-model inference, we show that the felt impacts of environmental changes increased with age but were lower for participants with higher quality of life. The effect of resilience was opposite to expectations: more resilient participants felt more impacts. This could be because less resilient individuals ceased to go on the land when environmental changes exceeded a given threshold; thus, only the most resilient participants could testify to the impacts of acute changes. Further research will be needed to test this hypothesis. View Full-Text
Keywords: Aboriginal people; wellness; environmental distress Aboriginal people; wellness; environmental distress
MDPI and ACS Style

Fuentes, L.; Asselin, H.; Bélisle, A.C.; Labra, O. Impacts of Environmental Changes on Well-Being in Indigenous Communities in Eastern Canada. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 637.

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