Health-related quality of life for First Nations and Caucasian women in the First Nations Bone Health Study

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Tennenhouse, Lana G
Leslie, William D
Lix, Lisa M
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Abstract Objective Studies about the health of Indigenous (i.e., original inhabitants) populations often focus on chronic diseases and risk behaviors, emphasizing physical aspects of health. Our objective was to test for differences in self-reported health-related quality of life (HRQOL), which provides a multidimensional and holistic perspective on health, between First Nations (one group of Indigenous peoples) and Caucasian women. Data were from the First Nations Bone Health Study, conducted in the Canadian province of Manitoba. HRQOL was measured using the validated Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36). It captures respondent’s perceptions of eight health domains, as well as overall mental and physical health components. Results Analyses were conducted for 707 participants of which 47.4% were of First Nations origin. First Nations respondents had significantly lower unadjusted scores (p < 0.05) than Caucasian respondents on all SF-36 dimensions, except bodily pain and vitality. They also had significantly lower overall mental health scores. After adjusting for multiple determinants of health (e.g., age, education, substance use), differences were no longer statistically significant, except for the social functioning and role emotional domains and overall mental health component. Complex cultural factors are likely responsible for the persistent mental health inequalities experienced by First Nations women.
BMC Research Notes. 2017 Dec 20;10(1):755