University of Oulu

Timlin, U.; Kauppila, S.; Jungsberg, L.; Nordström, T.; Schmidt-Pedersen, K.; Kyngäs, H.; Rautio, A. Perception of Health Challenges, Self-Rated Health and Feeling of Empowerment in a Changing Climate and Environment with Permafrost Thawing. Sci 2021, 3, 28.

Perception of health challenges, self-rated health and feeling of empowerment in a changing climate and environment with permafrost thawing

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Author: Timlin, Ulla1; Kauppila, Sofia2; Jungsberg, Leneisja3,4;
Organizations: 1Arctic Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
2Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
3Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Copenhagen University, 1165 Copenhagen, Denmark
4Nordregio, SE-11186 Stockholm, Sweden
5Infrastructure for Population Studies, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
6Center for Life Course Health Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, FI-90014 Oulu
7Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
8Qeqertarsuaq Museum, Qeqertarsuaq, Denmark
9Thule Institute, University of Oulu, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021
Publish Date: 2023-05-12


Climate change is a global challenge which has direct and indirect health impacts on the lives of people and communities in the Arctic. The aim of our study was to evaluate the perception of permafrost thaw and health challenges and to determine which perceived environmental and adaptation factors relate to self-rated health and, more specifically, to feeling of empowerment when facing the changes and impacts of climate change and permafrost thawing. Questionnaire data (n = 100) were collected from one community located in Greenland, Disko Bay. Data were analyzed by cross-tabulation and the significances were tested either by Pearson’s χ2 test, Fisher’s exact test or by the t-test, when applicable. Based on these analyses, logistic and linear regression analyses were used to evaluate the associations between demographic variables, challenges posed by permafrost thaw and self-rated health, and associations between feeling of empowerment and perceived environmental/adaptation factors. The results indicated that climate change was not assessed as being a direct risk for the health of local people or their feeling of empowerment. Nature seemed to play an important role for local people, and not being in the natural environment for recreational activities seemed to decrease feeling of empowerment (OR 0.42, p = 0.042, 95% CI 0.17–0.97). This paper provides new, multidisciplinary research information about the perception of health challenges, health, and feeling of empowerment among people living in an environment impacted by permafrost thaw and climate change.

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Series: Sci
ISSN: 2413-4155
ISSN-E: 2413-4155
ISSN-L: 2413-4155
Volume: 3
Issue: 2
Article number: 28
DOI: 10.3390/sci3020028
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3141 Health care science
Funding: This publication is part of the Nunataryuk project. The project received funding under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme 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 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (