University of Oulu

Ulla Timlin, Jón Haukur Ingimundarson, Leneisja Jungsberg, Sofia Kauppila, Joan Nymand Larsen, Tanja Nordström, Johanna Scheer, Peter Schweitzer, Arja Rautio, Living conditions and mental wellness in a changing climate and environment: focus on community voices and perceived environmental and adaptation factors in Greenland, Heliyon, Volume 7, Issue 4, 2021, e06862, ISSN 2405-8440,

Living conditions and mental wellness in a changing climate and environment : focus on community voices and perceived environmental and adaptation factors in Greenland

Saved in:
Author: Timlin, Ulla1; Ingimundarson, Jón Haukur2,3; Jungsberg, Leneisja4,5;
Organizations: 1Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Finland
2Stefansson Arctic Institute, Iceland
3University of Akureyri, Iceland
4Copenhagen University, Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Denmark
5Nordregio, Stockholm, Sweden
6Department of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark
7University of Vienna, Austria
8University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA
9University of Arctic, Finland
10Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-07-06


Background: Climate change is a major global challenge, especially for Indigenous communities. It can have extensive impacts on peoples’ lives that may occur through the living environment, health and mental well-being, and which are requiring constant adaptation.

Objectives: The overall purpose of this research was to evaluate the impacts of climate change and permafrost thaw on mental wellness in Disko Bay, Greenland. It contained two parts: multidisciplinary fieldwork and a questionnaire survey. The aim of the fieldwork was to learn about life and living conditions and to understand what it is like to live in a community that faces impacts of climate change and permafrost thaw. For the questionnaire the aim was to find out which perceived environmental and adaptation factors relate to very good self-rated well-being, quality of life and satisfaction with life.

Analysis: Fieldwork data was analyzed by following a thematic analysis, and questionnaire data statistically by cross-tabulation. First, the associations between perceived environmental and adaptation factors were studied either by the Pearson χ² test or by Fisher’s exact test. Second, binary logistic regression analysis was applied to examine more in depth the associations between perceived environmental/adaptation variables and self-rated very good well-being, satisfaction with life and quality of life. The binary logistic regression analysis was conducted in two phases: as univariate and multivariate analyses.

Results: Nature and different activities in nature were found to be important to local people, and results suggest that they increase mental wellness, specifically well-being and satisfaction with life. Challenges associated with permafrost thaw, such as changes in the physical environment, infrastructure and impacts on culture were recognized in everyday life.

Conclusions: The results offer relevant information for further plans and actions in this field of research and at the policy level. Our study shows the importance of multidisciplinary research which includes the voice of local communities.

see all

Series: Heliyon
ISSN: 2405-8440
ISSN-E: 2405-8440
ISSN-L: 2405-8440
Volume: 7
Issue: 4
Article number: e06862
DOI: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e06862
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
1172 Environmental sciences
Funding: This publication is part of the Nunataryuk project. The project has received funding under the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program under grant agreement no. 773421.
EU Grant Number: (773421) Nunataryuk - Permafrost thaw and the changing arctic coast: science for socio-economic adaptation
Copyright information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (