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Experiences of being a young male Sami reindeer herder: a qualitative study in perspective of mental health
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
2013 (English)In: International Journal of Circumpolar Health, ISSN 1239-9736, Vol. 72, no 20926Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objectives. To explore experiences of what it is to be a young male Sami reindeer herder in Sweden, a group with previously known stigma and specific health issues, and to understand experiences in perspective of mental health.

Methods. A qualitative content analysis was employed. Data were collected by in-depth interviews with 15 strategically selected reindeer herders aged 18–35 years old.

Results. The analysis resulted in 5 sub-themes: (a) being “inside” or “outside” is a question of identity; (b) a paradox between being free/bound; (c) an experience of various threats and a feeling of powerlessness; (d) specific norms for how a “real” reindeer herder should be; and (e) the different impacts and meanings of relations. The overarching theme is summarized thus: being a young reindeer herder means so many (impossible) dreams and conditions. Overall, the experience of the informants was that being a reindeer herder is a privileged position that also implies many impossibilities and unjust adversities they have no control over, and that there is nothing they can do but “bite the bullet or be a failure.”

Conclusions. Knowledge about this group's experiences can be used to understand difficulties faced by young reindeer herders and its consequences regarding mental health problems. This also implies a need for a broader perspective when discussing future interventions aimed at preventing mental health problems in this group.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
CoAction Publishing, 2013. Vol. 72, no 20926
Keyword [en]
Sami, mental health, reindeer herder, males, gender, experiences, qualitative content analysis, organizational culture
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-81485DOI: 10.3402/ijch.v72i0.20926ISI: 000325723800001OAI: diva2:655727
Available from: 2013-10-13 Created: 2013-10-13 Last updated: 2015-06-04Bibliographically approved

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Kaiser, NiclasSalander Renberg, Ellinor
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