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Design and methods in a survey of living conditions in the Arctic – the SLiCA study

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Author(s): Bent-Martin Eliassen | Marita Melhus | Jack Kruse | Birger Poppel | Ann Ragnhild Broderstad

Journal: International Journal of Circumpolar Health
ISSN 2242-3982

Volume: 71;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Inuit | Iñupiat | Sami | Indigenous peoples | living conditions | survey

ABSTRACT
Objectives: The main objective of this study is to describe the methods and design of the survey of living conditions in the Arctic (SLiCA), relevant participation rates and the distribution of participants, as applicable to the survey data in Alaska, Greenland and Norway. This article briefly addresses possible selection bias in the data and also the ways to tackle it in future studies. Study design: Population-based cross-sectional survey. Methods: Indigenous individuals aged 16 years and older, living in Greenland, Alaska and in traditional settlement areas in Norway, were invited to participate. Random sampling methods were applied in Alaska and Greenland, while non-probability sampling methods were applied in Norway. Data were collected in 3 periods: in Alaska, from January 2002 to February 2003; in Greenland, from December 2003 to August 2006; and in Norway, in 2003 and from June 2006 to June 2008. The principal method in SLiCA was standardised face-to-face interviews using a questionnaire. Results: A total of 663, 1,197 and 445 individuals were interviewed in Alaska, Greenland and Norway, respectively. Very high overall participation rates of 83% were obtained in Greenland and Alaska, while a more conventional rate of 57% was achieved in Norway. A predominance of female respondents was obtained in Alaska. Overall, the Sami cohort is older than the cohorts from Greenland and Alaska. Conclusions: Preliminary assessments suggest that selection bias in the Sami sample is plausible but not a major threat. Few or no threats to validity are detected in the data from Alaska and Greenland. Despite different sampling and recruitment methods, and sociocultural differences, a unique database has been generated, which shall be used to explore relationships between health and other living conditions variables.

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