Impact of the Charter of Quebec Values on psychological well-being of francophone university students

Hassan, G.; Mekki-Berrada, A.; Rousseau, C.; Lyonnais-Lafond, G.; Jamil, U.; & Cleveland, J. (2016)

Transcultural Psychiatry.

This paper discusses results from a pilot study conducted in the spring of 2014 among young adults living in Montreal. The main objective of this study was to assess the relation between perception of the Charter of Quebec Values,1 self-identification, perception of intercommunity relations, perceived discrimination, and psychological well-being in young students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs of a francophone university in Montreal. A total of 441 students (30.5% male, 69.5% female) took part in a web survey designed by the research team. The data analyses and results suggest that the debate around the Charter of Quebec values was associated with a shift from a predominantly positive perception of intercommunity relations to a predominantly negative one, particularly among women, immigrants, and those who self-identified as cultural or religious minorities. In addition, more than 30% of participants reported having experienced some form of ethnic or religious discrimination since the Charter was released (personally or as a witness). This was particularly the case among immigrants, as well as those who self-identified as bicultural or from cultural or religious minority groups. This study’s results thus highlight the exacerbation of intercommunity tensions linked to the public debate around identity and intercommunity relations in Quebec.