Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 108, Issue 5–6, pp e482–e487 | Cite as

Racial discrimination and depression among on-reserve First Nations people in rural Saskatchewan

  • Bonnie JanzenEmail author
  • Chandima Karunanayake
  • Donna Rennie
  • Tarun Katapally
  • Roland Dyck
  • Kathleen McMullin
  • Mark Fenton
  • Laurie Jimmy
  • Judy MacDonald
  • Vivian R. Ramsden
  • James Dosman
  • Sylvia Abonyi
  • Punam Pahwa
  • The First Nations Lung Health Project Research Team
Quantitative Research


OBJECTIVES: To determine among rural-dwelling on-reserve Saskatchewan First Nations people whether racial discrimination is associated with depression, and in turn, if this relationship is moderated by gender.

METHODS: As a component of a community-based participatory research project, a cross-sectional, interviewer-administered survey of 874 adults living on 2 Cree First Nation reserves in rural north-central Saskatchewan was conducted during May–August in 2012 and 2013. Self-reported, health-provider diagnosis of depression was the dependent variable and experiences of interpersonal racial discrimination was the primary exposure. Chi-square and multiple logistic regression were the main analytic techniques. Generalized estimating equations were applied to account for clustering within households.

RESULTS: Overall, 64% of participants reported being treated unfairly in 1 or more situations because of their ethnicity; 38% indicated discrimination occurring in 3 or more situations. Nineteen percent reported a diagnosis of depression. Adjusted analyses indicated that compared to those with no experience of racial discrimination, those reporting 1–2 and 3 or more situations were 1.77 times (95% CI: 1.06–2.95) and 1.91 times (95% CI: 1.19–3.04) more likely to have diagnosed depression respectively. The relationship between racial discrimination and depression was not modified by gender, although women were 1.85 times (95% CI: 1.24–2.76) more likely to report depression than men.

CONCLUSION: Interpersonal racial discrimination was associated with depression among First Nations women and men in rural Saskatchewan. Research directed at identifying the most efficacious interventions, programs and policies to combat racism is required to advance the goal of health equity.

Key words

Racial discrimination First Nations depression 


OBJECTIFS: Déterminer, chez les membres des Premières Nations de la Saskatchewan vivant dans des réserves en zone rurale, si la discrimination raciale est associée à la dépression et si, en retour, cette relation est modulée par le sexe.

MÉTHODE: Dans le cadre d’un projet de recherche participative communautaire, nous avons mené une enquête transversale administrée par un intervieweur auprès de 874 adultes vivant dans deux réserves de la Première Nation crie dans le centre-nord rural de la Saskatchewan entre mai et août en 2012 et en 2013. La variable dépendante était un diagnostic de dépression autodéclaré posé par un dispensateur de soins de santé, et l’exposition directe était l’expérience de la discrimination raciale interpersonnelle. Nos principales techniques étaient l’analyse du khi-carré et l’analyse de régression logistique multiple. Nous avons appliqué des équations d’estimation généralisées pour tenir compte des regroupements au sein des ménages.

RÉSULTATS: Dans l’ensemble, 64 % des participants ont déclaré avoir été traités injustement dans une situation ou plus en raison de leur ethnicité; 38 % ont fait état de discrimination dans trois situations ou plus. Dix-neuf p. cent ont dit avoir un diagnostic de dépression. Les analyses ajustées ont indiqué que comparativement aux répondants n’ayant aucune expérience de discrimination raciale, ceux qui ont déclaré une ou deux situations et trois situations ou plus étaient 1,77 fois (IC de 95 %: 1,06–2,95) et 1,91 fois (IC de 95 %: 1,19–3,04) plus susceptibles d’avoir un diagnostic de dépression, respectivement. La relation entre la discrimination raciale et la dépression n’était pas modulée par le sexe, mais les femmes étaient 1,85 fois (IC de 95 %: 1,24–2,76) plus susceptibles de déclarer un diagnostic de dépression que les hommes.

CONCLUSION: La discrimination raciale interpersonnelle était associée à la dépression chez les femmes et les hommes des Premières nations vivant en zone rurale en Saskatchewan. Pour atteindre l’objectif de l’équité en santé, il faut faire de la recherche pour déterminer quels sont les interventions, les programmes et les politiques les plus efficaces pour combattre le racisme.

Mots clés

discrimination raciale Premières Nations dépression 


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bonnie Janzen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chandima Karunanayake
    • 2
  • Donna Rennie
    • 2
  • Tarun Katapally
    • 3
  • Roland Dyck
    • 2
  • Kathleen McMullin
    • 2
  • Mark Fenton
    • 4
  • Laurie Jimmy
    • 5
  • Judy MacDonald
    • 6
  • Vivian R. Ramsden
    • 7
  • James Dosman
    • 2
  • Sylvia Abonyi
    • 1
  • Punam Pahwa
    • 1
    • 2
  • The First Nations Lung Health Project Research Team
  1. 1.Department of Community Health & Epidemiology, College of MedicineUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in AgricultureUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  3. 3.Graduate School of Public PolicyUniversity of ReginaReginaCanada
  4. 4.Division of Respirology, Critical Care and Sleep MedicineUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  5. 5.Community ACanada
  6. 6.Community BCanada
  7. 7.Department of Academic Family MedicineUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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