Experiences of chronic stress and mental health concerns among urban Indigenous women
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We measured stress, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) levels of urban Indigenous women living with and without HIV in Ontario, Canada, and identified correlates of depression. We recruited 30 Indigenous women living with HIV and 60 without HIV aged 18 years or older who completed socio-demographic and health questionnaires and validated scales assessing stress, depression and PTSD. Descriptive statistics were conducted to summarize variables and linear regression to identify correlates of depression. 85.6 % of Indigenous women self-identified as First Nation. Co-morbidities other than HIV were self-reported by 82.2 % (n = 74) of the sample. High levels of perceived stress were reported by 57.8 % (n = 52) of the sample and 84.2 % (n = 75) had moderate to high levels of urban stress. High median levels of race-related (51/88, IQR 42-68.5) and parental-related stress (40.5/90, IQR 35-49) scores were reported. 82.2 % (n = 74) reported severe depressive symptoms and 83.2 % (n = 74) severe PTSD. High levels of perceived stress was correlated with high depressive symptoms (estimate 1.28 (95 % CI 0.97-1.58), p < 0.001). Indigenous women living with and without HIV reported elevated levels of stress and physical and mental health concerns. Interventions cutting across diverse health care settings are required for improving and preventing adverse health outcomes.
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