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author:("jun, Hee-Soon")
1.  Early Life Conditions of Overall and Cause-Specific Mortality Among Inner-City African Americans 
American journal of public health  2013;104(3):548-554.
We examined how early life conditions influence midlife overall and cause-specific mortality in a community cohort of disadvantaged African Americans.
Using a prospective design, we assessed first-grade children and their teachers and families when children were 6 years old, with follow-up at ages 16, 32, and 42 years. We obtained information on death from family members, neighbors, and the National Death Index (NDI). We conducted a survival analysis and competing risk analysis to examine early life predictors of mortality.
Of 1242 participants, 87 (7%) had died by 2004. In multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression, males who lived in foster care and females with lower math grades in first grade were more likely to die by age 42 years. In multivariate competing risks analysis, hospitalization by the time of first grade was related to mortality from acute and chronic illness. Male gender, being in foster care, and aggressive behavior in first grade were related to mortality from drug use, violence, or suicide.
Early classroom, environmental, and family-level interventions are potentially beneficial in reducing later overall and cause-specific mortality.
PMCID: PMC3915037  PMID: 23597365
2.  Effectiveness of a Culturally Integrated Liver Cancer Education in Improving HBV Knowledge Among Asian Americans 
Preventive medicine  2012;56(1):53-58.
To assess the effectiveness of a hepatitis B virus (HBV) educational program in increasing HBV knowledge.
Using a cluster randomized control trial to recruit participants from the community-based organization in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area; a total of 877 Asian American participants completed a self-administered pretest. HBV knowledge was the outcome measure. The intervention group received a 30-minute educational program. After the educational program, the intervention group completed post-education survey. Six months after the education, all participants were followed by phone.
The intervention group showed significantly higher knowledge scores than the control group at the 6-months follow-up (between-group difference was 1.44 for knowledge of transmission modes and 0.59 for sequelae, p < 0.01). For the intervention group, the increase in knowledge of HBV transmission modes in post-education was much higher than that at the 6-month follow-up (4.18 vs. 2.07), p < 0.01) compared to baseline. Age was also an important factor on the educational effect: Those older than 60 years reported the lowest scores in all three points.
Findings suggest that this culturally integrated liver cancer educational program increased HBV knowledge. Differential strategies are needed to target age groups, separately educating those younger and those older.
PMCID: PMC3540148  PMID: 23159302
Knowledge of HBV infection; Asian Americans; Health disparity
3.  Effect of a Liver Cancer Education Program on Hepatitis B Screening Among Asian Americans in the Baltimore–Washington Metropolitan Area, 2009–2010 
Asian Americans have the highest incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the major form of primary liver cancer, of all ethnic groups in the United States. Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is the most common cause of HCC, and as many as 1 in 10 foreign-born Asian Americans are chronically infected with HBV. We tested the effectiveness of a culturally tailored liver cancer education program for increasing screening for HBV among Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese Americans residing in the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area, from November 2009 through June 2010.
We used a cluster randomized controlled trial to recruit volunteer participants from community-based organizations (CBOs) in the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area. We selected 877 participants by using a pretest survey. People were eligible to participate if they had not attended a hepatitis B–related education program in the past 5 years. The intervention group (n = 441) received a 30-minute educational program, and the control group (n = 436) received an educational brochure. After attending the educational program, the intervention group completed a post-education survey. Six months later, participants in both groups were followed up by telephone. Receipt of HBV screening was the outcome measure.
Approximately 79% (n = 688) of participants completed the 6-month follow-up telephone survey. Among those who had not had HBV screening at baseline (n = 446), the adjusted odds of self-reported receipt of HBV screening at the 6-month follow-up to the educational program were significantly higher for the intervention group than for the control group (odds ratio = 5.13; 95% confidence interval, 3.14–8.39; P < .001). Chinese Americans and Vietnamese Americans had significantly higher odds of having HBV screening in the 6-month period than Korean Americans.
Culturally tailored education programs that increase liver cancer awareness can be effective in increasing HBV screening among underserved Asian American populations.
PMCID: PMC3921910  PMID: 24503341
4.  Antecedents and Consequences of Marijuana Use Trajectories over the Life Course in an African American Population* 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2011;118(2-3):216-223.
We examined developmental trajectories of marijuana use among a cohort of urban African Americans followed from first grade to mid adulthood. We compared risk factors in childhood and adolescence and consequences in mid adulthood across trajectory groups.
Using semiparametric group-based mixture modeling, five marijuana trajectories for men (n=455) and four trajectories for women (n=495) were identified extending from adolescence to young adulthood (age 32). We labeled the four trajectory groups similar for men and women “abstainers,” “adolescent only users,” “early adulthood decliners,” and “persistent users.” We named the unique fifth group for men “late starters.”
Multivariate multinomial logistic regressions show that childhood problem behaviors, adolescent family involvement, and dropping out of high school differentiated trajectory membership. Analyses comparing the trajectory groups on behavioral, social, and health outcomes at age 42 revealed that for both men and women, those in the persistent trajectory had the most problems, and those in the early adult decliner group also had specific problems. Male late starters also had poor outcomes.
The findings point to the value of identifying specific patterns of substance use over the life course and understanding the differences in their correlates and consequences. The implications of these findings are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3161156  PMID: 21514749
African Americans; marijuana use trajectories; semiparametric group-based approach; prospective study; antecedents; consequences
5.  A Cluster Analytic Examination of Acculturation and Health Status among Asian Americans in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area, United States 
Previous studies reported mixed findings on the relationship between acculturation and health status among Asian Americans due to different types of acculturation measures used or different Asian subgroups involved in various studies. We aim to fill the gap by applying multiple measures of acculturation in a diverse sample of Asian subgroups.
A cross sectional study was conducted among Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese Americans in Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area to examine the association between health status and acculturation using multiple measures including the Suinn-Lew Asian Self-Identity Acculturation (SL-ASIA) scale, clusters based on responses to SL-ASIA, language preference, length of stay, age at arrival in the United Sates and self-identity. Three clusters (Asian (31%); Bicultural (47%); and American (22%)) were created by using a two-step hierarchical method and Bayesian Information Criterion values. Across all the measures, more acculturated individuals were significantly more likely to report good health than those who were less acculturated after adjusting for covariates. Specifically, those in the American cluster were 3.8 times (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 2.2, 6.6) more likely and those in the Bicultural cluster were 1.7 times more likely (95% CI: 1.1, 2.4) to report good health as compared to those in the Asian cluster. When the conventional standardized SL-ASIA summary score (range: −1.4 to 1.4) was used, a one point increase was associated with 2.2 times greater odds of reporting good health (95% CI: 1.5, 3.2). However, the interpretation may be challenging due to uncertainty surrounding the meaning of a one point increase in SL-ASIA summary score.
Among all the measures used, acculturation clusters better approximated the acculturation process and provided us with a more accurate test of the association in the population. Variables included in this measure were more relevant for our study sample and may have worked together to capture the multifaceted acculturation process.
PMCID: PMC4143184  PMID: 24034947
acculturation; health status; Asian Americans; United States; clusters; measures
6.  Influence of Information Sources on Hepatitis B Screening Behavior and Relevant Psychosocial Factors Among Asian Immigrants 
This study examines how different information sources relate to Health Belief Model (HBM) constructs, hepatitis B virus (HBV) knowledge, and HBV screening. The Maryland Asian American Liver Cancer Education Program administered a survey of 877 Asian immigrants. The most common sources of information identified by the multiple-answer questions were newspapers (39.8%), physicians (39.3%), friends (33.8%), TV (31.7%), and the Internet (29.5%). Path analyses—controlling for age, sex, educational level, English proficiency, proportion of life in U.S., health insurance coverage, and family history of HBV infection—showed that learning about HBV from physicians had the strongest direct effect; friends had a marginal indirect effect. Perceived risk, benefits, and severity played limited roles in mediation effects. Path analysis results differed by ethnicity. Physician-based HBV screening intervention would be effective, but should be complemented with community health campaigns through popular information sources for the uninsured.
PMCID: PMC3615083  PMID: 23238580
Hepatitis B; Asian American; health information; screening; Health Belief Model
7.  The association between nutrition transition score and measures of obesity: results from a cross-sectional study among Latina/o immigrants in Baltimore 
Studies suggest that US Latinos have a higher prevalence of obesity than White Americans. However, obesity may differ by pre-immigration factors and Latinos’ cultural representations of ideal body image. This paper explores whether country of origin’s stage in the nutrition transition is related to Latino immigrants’ BMI category and self-perception of weight.
Primary data originated from a cross-sectional questionnaire of Latina/o immigrants in Baltimore in 2011. A convenience sample of self-identified Latinos, ≥18 years old, living in Baltimore was recruited from a community-based organization. Data for each country represented in the sample were obtained from the WHO Demographic and Health Surveys and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Each country was scored for its stage in the nutrition transition using a six-point scoring system. Descriptive statistics were conducted to characterize the sample. Bivariate analyses were conducted to examine the relationship between the outcome variables and the predictors. Multivariate logistic regressions were conducted to examine whether a country’s stage in the nutrition transition increased one’s odds of having an obese BMI score (≥30 kg/cm2) and perceiving one’s weight as overweight, while controlling for socio-demographic variables.
The sample (n = 149) consisted of immigrants from 12 Latin American countries. Participants lived in the US for x=10.24 years. About 40% of the sample had BMI ≥30 kg/m2 (obese). The longer Latina immigrants’ lived in the US, the less likely their country of origin’s nutrition transition score would increase their odds of having a BMI ≥30 kg/m2 (OR = 0.97 p < 0.04). The higher the country of origin’s nutrition transition score, the more likely BMI influenced Latino immigrants’ perception of their weight as above normal (OR = 1.06, p < 0.04). The effect of the nutrition transition score had a stronger effect on females than males.
These results suggest that country of origin’s nutrition transition score and gender affect Latino immigrants’ objective and subjective measures of weight. Future investigation should investigate the relationship between gender and the nutrition transition in Latin America and how the nutrition transition globalizes obesity and weight consciousness.
PMCID: PMC4099090  PMID: 25001844
Nutrition transition; Latino immigrants; Obesity; Self-perceived body weight
8.  Atypical Epidemiologic Finding in Association between Depression and Alcohol Use or Smoking in Korean Male: Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging 
Psychiatry Investigation  2014;11(3):272-280.
The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between substance use and depressive symptoms in a cohort of Koreans aged 45 years and older from a large, population-based study. Using the 2006 Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging, we estimated the prevalence of depressive symptoms and its association with smoking and alcohol use.
Depressive symptoms were measured using the CES-D 10-item scale. Age, marital status, educational attainment, employment and any disability were the control variables. Because there were gender differences in smoking and alcohol use, we also performed a separate analysis by gender.
In the multivariable logistic regression, ex-drinkers were more likely to be depressed than non-drinkers (OR, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.08-1.74 for males; OR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.23-2.57 for females). Compared to non-drinkers, males with moderate drinking habits (OR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.63-0.90) were less likely to be depressed, whereas heavy male drinkers were more likely to be depressed (OR, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.07-1.91). Female smokers were more likely to be depressed than female non-smokers (OR, 2.07; 95% CI, 1.51-2.83).
This study showed atypical pattern of relationship between smoking and depression and U-shaped relationship between depressive symptoms and alcohol consumption in male population. Both of these findings could be inferred from that these regional characteristics might be cross-sectional finding of chronologic transition result from a rapid rise of late life depression in Korea.
PMCID: PMC4124186  PMID: 25110500
Alcohol; Depressive symptom; Gender; Smoking
9.  Asian-White disparities in short sleep duration by industry of employment and occupation in the US: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:552.
Although short sleep is associated with an increased risk of morbidity as well as mortality and has been shown to vary by industry of employment and occupation, little is known about the relationship between work and sleep among Asian Americans.
Using a nationally representative sample of US adults (n = 125,610) in the National Health Interview Survey from 2004–2011, we estimated prevalence ratios for self-reported short sleep duration (<7 hours) in Asians compared to Whites by industry of employment and occupation using adjusted Poisson regression models with robust variance.
Asians were more likely to report short sleep duration than Whites (33 vs. 28%, p < 0.001), and the Asian-White disparity was widest in finance/information and healthcare industries. Compared to Whites after adjustments, short sleep was also more prevalent among Asians employed in Public administration (PR = 1.35 [95% CI: 1.17,1.56]), Education (PR = 1.29 [95% CI: 1.08,1.53]), and Professional/Management (PR = 1.18 [95% CI: 1.03,1.36]). Short sleep, however, was lower among Asians in Accommodation/Food (PR = 0.81 [95% CI: 0.66, 0.99]) with no difference in Retail. In professional and support-service occupations, short sleep was higher among Asians, but was not different among laborers.
U.S. Asian-White disparities in short sleep varied by industries, suggesting a need to consider both race and occupational characteristics to identify high-risk individuals.
PMCID: PMC4057824  PMID: 24894508
Sleep; Work; Industry; Occupation; Asian; Race
10.  Job satisfaction and retention of health-care providers in Afghanistan and Malawi 
This study describes job satisfaction and intention to stay on the job among primary health-care providers in countries with distinctly different human resources crises, Afghanistan and Malawi.
Using a cross-sectional design, we enrolled 87 health-care providers in 32 primary health-care facilities in Afghanistan and 360 providers in 10 regional hospitals in Malawi. The study questionnaire was used to assess job satisfaction, intention to stay on the job and five features of the workplace environment: resources, performance recognition, financial compensation, training opportunities and safety. Descriptive analyses, exploratory factor analyses for scale development, bivariate correlation analyses and bivariate and multiple linear regression analyses were conducted.
The multivariate model for Afghanistan, with demographic, background and work environment variables, explained 23.9% of variance in job satisfaction (F(9,73) = 5.08; P < 0.01). However, none of the work environment variables were significantly related to job satisfaction. The multivariate model for intention to stay for Afghanistan explained 23.6% of variance (F(8,74) = 4.10; P < 0.01). Those with high scores for recognition were more likely to have higher intention to stay (β = 0.328, P < 0.05). However, being paid an appropriate salary was negatively related to intent to stay (β = -0.326, P < 0.01). For Malawi, the overall model explained only 9.8% of variance in job satisfaction (F(8,332) = 4.19; P < 0.01) and 9.1% of variance in intention to stay (F(10,330) = 3.57; P < 0.01).
The construction of concepts of health-care worker satisfaction and intention to stay on the job are highly dependent on the local context. Although health-care workers in both Afghanistan and Malawi reported satisfaction with their jobs, the predictors of satisfaction, and the extent to which those predictors explained variations in job satisfaction and intention to stay on the job, differed substantially. These findings demonstrate the need for more detailed comparative human resources for health-care research, particularly regarding the relative importance of different determinants of job satisfaction and intention to stay in different contexts and the effectiveness of interventions designed to improve health-care worker performance and retention.
PMCID: PMC3930828  PMID: 24533615
Afghanistan; Job satisfaction; Malawi; Retention
11.  Culturally Appropriate Photonovel Development and Process Evaluation for Hepatitis B Prevention in Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese American Communities 
Asian Americans have disproportionately high prevalence of chronic hepatitis B virus infection in the United States and yet have low hepatitis B screening and vaccination rates. We developed three photonovels specifically designed for Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese Americans and evaluated their cultural relevance and effectiveness in increasing self-efficacy and intention to have a hepatitis B screening. Photonovels' storylines were drawn from focus group themes, and lay people from each community played actors/actresses in community settings. Photonovels were pilot tested, revised, and distributed in a hepatitis B intervention. A two-page process evaluation questionnaire was mailed to 441 participants after one month. Descriptive analysis and multiple logistic regressions were conducted to assess the overall evaluation of the photonovel and to assess factors associated with self-efficacy and intention to have hepatitis B screening. Eighty-four percent of participants responded to the process evaluation. The majority of participants either strongly agreed or agreed that the cancer information in the photonovel was helpful, the story was written by someone who knows the community, and the information was easy to understand. Overall, more than 80% of them thought this photonovel was a good teaching tool. Favorable evaluation of the photonovel was associated with both having intention and self-efficacy to have a hepatitis B screening in the next 5 months. When stratified by level of education and income, the associations were stronger among the lower income and education groups. Culturally appropriate photonovels are useful tools to promote hepatitis B screening among Asian Americans, especially among those of lower socioeconomic status.
PMCID: PMC3830675  PMID: 23372031
Asian Americans; community-based participatory research; educational material; hepatitis B; photonovel; screening
12.  Acculturation and BMI Among Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese Adults 
Journal of community health  2012;37(3):539-546.
The objective of this study is to examine the association between acculturation and BMI among Asian Americans using multiple measures of acculturation. Data of 847 Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese recruited for a health education program in Maryland during 2009 to 2010 were used. Acculturation was measured by the short version of Suinn-Lew Asian Self-Identity Acculturation Scale (SL-ASIA) and its individual components. Height and weight were measured by trained staff. Multiple linear regressions were used to estimate the association between acculturation and BMI. After adjusting for age, gender, education, income, marital status, and ethnicity, SL-ASIA (β = 0.71, SE = 0.28), having education in the US (β = 0.56, SE = 0.28), younger age of arrival (0–5 years: β = 3.32, SE = 0.76, 6–10 years: β = 1.55, SE = 0.78), self identified as Americans (β = 1.51, SE = 0.77) and equal preference of Asian/American food in restaurants (β = 0.92, SE = 0.28) were significantly associated with increased BMI. The association between acculturation and BMI was stronger among men than women, strongest among Chinese and weakest among Vietnamese. Acculturation was moderately associated with increased BMI among Asian Americans and this association varied by measures of acculturation. The association of acculturation and BMI was moderated by sex and ethnicity groups.
PMCID: PMC3804273  PMID: 21922164
BMI; Obesity; Acculturation; Asian Americans
13.  Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer Among Three Asian American Sub-Groups: A Focus Group Inquiry 
Prevalence of hepatitis B among Asian Americans is higher than for any other ethnic group in the United States. Since more than 50% of liver cancer is hepatitis B related, the burden of morbidity and mortality is extremely high among Asian Americans, highlighting the need for culturally appropriate interventions. We conducted focus groups (n = 8) with a total of 58 Korean, Vietnamese, and Chinese immigrants in Maryland to explore knowledge, awareness and perceived barriers toward hepatitis B screening and vaccinations. Thematic analysis uncovered generally low levels of knowledge and awareness of hepatitis B risks, screening, and vaccination; inter-generational differences; and barriers to prevention. Some differences arose across ethnic groups, particularly toward perceived orientation to preventive activities and the role of religious groups. High rates of hepatitis B infection among Asian Americans highlight the need for tailored interventions. These findings may assist policy strategists in implementing interventions that will facilitate the integration and scale-up of hepatitis B education, screening, and vaccination campaigns.
PMCID: PMC3804298  PMID: 21901445
Hepatitis B risk; HBV screening and vaccinations; Asian Americans; Qualitative; Immigrant health
14.  Ethnic Differences in Prevalence and Barriers of HBV Screening and Vaccination Among Asian Americans 
Journal of community health  2012;37(5):1071-1080.
Our study identifies the prevalence of HBV virus (HBV) screening and vaccination among Asian Americans, and ethnic differences for factors associated with screening and vaccination behaviors. In 2009–2010 we recruited 877 Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese Americans 18 years of age and above through several community organizations, churches and local ethnic businesses in Maryland for a health education intervention and a self-administered survey. Prevalence of HBV screening, screening result and vaccinations were compared by each ethnic group. We used logistic regression analysis to understand how sociodemographics, familial factors, patient-, provider-, and resource-related barriers are associated with screening and vaccination behaviors, using the total sample and separate analysis for each ethnic group. Forty-seven percent of participants reported that they had received HBV screening and 38% had received vaccinations. Among the three groups, the Chinese participants had the highest screening prevalence, but lowest self-reported infection rate; Vietnamese has the lowest screening and vaccination prevalence. In multivariate analysis, having better knowledge of HBV, and family and physician recommendations was significantly associated with screening and vaccination behaviors. Immigrants who had lived in the US for more than a quarter of their lifetime were less likely to report ever having been screened (OR = 0.39, 95% CI: 0.28–0.55) or vaccinated (OR = 0.62, 95% CI: 0.44–0.88). In ethnic-specific analysis, having a regular physician (OR = 4.46, 95% CI: 1.62–12.25) and doctor's recommendation (OR = 2.11, 95% CI: 1.05–4.22) are significantly associated with Korean's vaccination behaviors. Health insurance was associated with vaccination behaviors only among Vietnamese (OR = 2.66, 95% CI: 1.21–5.83), but not among others.
PMCID: PMC3804552  PMID: 22302652
HBV infection; Asian Americans; HBV prevalence; Health care access barriers
15.  Risk Factors for Intimate Partner Violence Initiation and Persistence among High Psychosocial Risk Asian and Pacific Islander Women in Intact Relationships 
Women's Health Issues  2011;22(2):e181-e188.
The present study identifies risk factors for intimate partner violence (IPV) initiation and persistence over three years in a high psychosocial risk Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) sample of women with children living in Hawaii.
378 women in a 3-year relationship with the same partner reported IPV experiences at baseline and three years later. Baseline risk factors included characteristics of each woman, her partner, and their relationship. Bivariate and multivariate regression models were conducted to assess the influence of risk factors on the likelihood of experiencing IPV initiation and persistence.
Of women who experienced no physical violence at baseline, 43% reported IPV initiation. Of women who did experience physical violence at baseline, 57% reported IPV persistence. Being unemployed and reporting poor mental health at baseline are important risk factors for experiencing IPV initiation. Reporting frequent physical violence at baseline increases the likelihood of experiencing IPV persistence. Asian women were significantly less likely to report IPV persistence than other groups of women.
Our study indicates that among a high psychosocial risk sample of AAPI women there are different risk factors for IPV initiation and persistence. Future prevention and screening efforts may need to focus on these risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3261356  PMID: 22001632
16.  Correlates of non-medical prescription drug use among a cohort of injection drug users in Baltimore City 
Addictive behaviors  2011;36(12):1282-1287.
Despite reports of increasing non-medical prescription drug use, relatively few studies have systematically evaluated the prevalence and correlates of non-medical prescription drug use, particularly in populations that might be especially vulnerable (e.g., injection drug users [IDUs]). We examined factors associated with non-medical prescription drug use among a community-based cohort of current and former IDUs in Baltimore (The ALIVE Study). We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of data from cohort participants that responded to a survey that included questions on non-medical prescription drug use between 2005–06 (n=1320). Non-medical prescription drug use was considered to be use of any of the following: Opiates (Oxycontin, Percocet), Benzodiazepines or Clonidine, purchased on the street and taken orally within the last six months. Data on other covariates of interest (e.g., demographics, substance use, general health) was obtained through a standardized interview. The median age was 46 years; 66% were male, 85% were African-American. Twenty one percent reported any non-medical prescription drug use; 12% reported using more than one drug. Non-medical use of opiates was most common (17%). In multivariate analysis, non-medical prescription drug use was significantly associated with Caucasian race (prevalence ratio [PR]: 1.79), self-reported bodily pain (PR: 1.58), hazardous alcohol use (PR: 1.47), marijuana use (PR: 1.65), non-injection cocaine/heroin use (PR: 1.70), diverted use of buprenorphine (PR: 1.51) or methadone (PR: 2.51), and active injection drug use (PR: 3.50; p<0.05 for all). The association between bodily pain and non-medical prescription drug use was stronger among persons that were not using substances (marijuana, injecting drugs, snorting/smoking heroin, cocaine, using crack) as compared to those using these substances. The high prevalence of non-medical prescription drug use among this population warrants further research and action. Information on the risks of nonmedical prescription drug use especially overdose, should be incorporated into interventions targeted at IDUs.
PMCID: PMC3179799  PMID: 21868170
non-medical prescription drug use; poly-drug use; injection drug users; substance abuse; Baltimore
17.  Model Minority at Risk: Expressed Needs of Mental Health by Asian American Young Adults 
Journal of Community Health  2009;34(2):144-152.
The objective of this study is to obtain and discuss in-depth information on mental health problems, including the status, barriers, and potential solutions in 1.5 and 2nd generation Asian American young adults. As a part of the Health Needs Assessment project, the researchers conducted two focus groups with 17 young adults (mainly 1.5 or 2nd generation) from eight Asian American communities (Asian Indian, Cambodian, Chinese, Indonesian, Korean, Taiwanese, Thai, and Vietnamese) in Montgomery County, Maryland. We developed a moderator's guide with open-ended questions and used it to collect qualitative data. Using a software, we organized and identified emergent themes by major categories. Participants reported a several common sources of stress that affect the mental health of Asian American young adults including: pressure to meet parental expectations of high academic achievement and live up to the “model minority” stereotype; difficulty of balancing two different cultures and communicating with parents; family obligations based on the strong family values; and discrimination or isolation due to racial or cultural background. Young Asian Americans tend not to seek professional help for their mental health problems; instead they use personal support networks—close friends, significant others, and religious community. Participants suggested that Asian cultural norms that do not consider mental problems important, and associated stigma of seeking professional care might undermine their mental health help seeking behavior. Our findings support a need for delivering culturally appropriate programs to raise awareness of mental health and cultural training for health providers to deliver culturally appropriate care.
PMCID: PMC3296234  PMID: 18931893
Mental health; Asian American; Young adults; Immigrant health; 1.5 generation; 2nd generation
18.  Effects of Social Integration on Health: A Prospective Study of Community Engagement among African American Women 
Social science & medicine (1982)  2010;72(2):291-298.
Research indicates that engagement in community organizations is positively associated with health, particularly among aging populations, yet few studies have examined in detail the influence of community engagement (CE) on later health among African Americans. This study provides a longitudinal assessment of the effects of CE over a 22-year period on physical and mental health among a population of urban African American women.
Data were from the Woodlawn Study, a prospective study of children and their families from an African American community in Chicago. Mothers who were assessed in 1975 and in 1997 reported involvement in religious and secular organizations. These reports were combined to create a five-category construct: no CE, early CE only, late CE only, persistent CE (either type at both assessments), and diverse and persistent CE (both types at both assessments). Multivariate regression analyses with multiple imputation (for N=680) estimated the impact of CE on four measures of physical and mental health: SF-36 physical functioning, self-rated health, anxious mood, and depressed mood.
Women with late-only, persistent, and diverse and persistent CE reported significantly better health compared to non-involved women. Persistently engaged women were less likely to report anxious or depressed mood than those with early CE only. Persistent and diverse CE was more highly associated with better physical functioning than was persistent CE. Results highlight the strong positive link between health and concurrent, persistent, and diverse CE among African American women.
PMCID: PMC3031118  PMID: 21131117
USA; social integration; community engagement; physical health; mental health; African American; aging; longitudinal; women; ethnicity
19.  Smoking on Both Sides of the Pacific: Home Smoking Restrictions and Secondhand Smoke Exposure Among Korean Adults and Children in Seoul and California 
Nicotine & Tobacco Research  2010;12(11):1142-1150.
This study, informed by ecological frameworks, compared the prevalence, predictors, and association of home smoking restrictions with secondhand smoke exposure (SHSe) between Koreans in Seoul, South Korea, and Korean Americans in California, United States.
A cross-sectional survey was drawn from telephone interviews with Korean adults in Seoul (N = 500) and California (N = 2,830) during 2001–02. Multivariable regressions were used for analyses.
Koreans, compared with Korean Americans, had significantly fewer complete home smoking bans, 19% (95% CI: 16–23) versus 66% (95% CI: 64–68), and were more likely to not have a home smoking restriction, 64% (95% CI: 60–69) versus 5% (95% CI: 4–6). Home smoking restrictions were associated with lower home SHSe; however, the impact was consistently larger among Korean Americans. Households with more SHSe sources were less likely to have the strongest home smoking restrictions, where the difference in complete bans among Korean Americans versus Koreans was largely among those at low risk of SHSe, 82% (95% CI: 76–86) versus 36% (95% CI: 17–57), while high-risk Korean American and Koreans had similar low probabilities, 10% (95% CI: 7–13) versus 7% (95% CI: 3–13).
Consistent with ecological frameworks, exposure to California’s antismoking policy and culture was associated with stronger home smoking restrictions and improved effectiveness. Interventions tailored to Korean and Korean American SHSe profiles are needed. Behavioral interventions specifically for high-risk Korean Americans and stronger policy controls for Koreans may be effective at rapidly expanding home smoking restrictions.
PMCID: PMC2964924  PMID: 20924042
20.  Welfare Receipt Trajectories of African-American Women Followed for 30 Years 
Although there has been much discussion about the persistence of poverty and welfare receipt among child-rearing women in the US, little is known about long-term patterns of poverty and welfare receipt or what differentiates those who remain on welfare from those who do not. Furthermore, are there distinctions between child-rearing women who are poor but not on welfare from those who do receive welfare? This study examined trajectories of welfare receipt and poverty among African-American women (n = 680) followed from 1966 to 1997. A semiparametric group-based approach revealed four trajectories of welfare receipt: no welfare (64.2%), early leavers (12.7%), late leavers (10.1%), and persistent welfare recipients (10.1%). The “no welfare” group was further divided into a poverty group and a not poverty group to distinguish predictors of welfare from predictors of poverty. Multivariate analyses revealed differences in predictors of trajectory groups in terms of education, physical and psychological health, and social integration. In addition, earlier chronic illness and social integration were important predictors to differentiate between long-term users (i.e., late leavers, persistent recipients) and short-term users (i.e., early leavers). Trajectories did not differ in teenage motherhood, substance use, or family history of welfare receipt. Implications for public policy are discussed.
PMCID: PMC2821602  PMID: 19949992
Welfare trajectory; Semiparametric growth mixture model; African-American women; Social integration; Psychological distress; Social roles
21.  Cancer Prevention Behaviors in Low-Income Urban Whites: An Understudied Problem 
Low-income urban whites in the United States have largely gone unexamined in health disparities research. In this study, we explored cancer prevention behaviors in this population. We compared data on whites with low socioeconomic status (SES) from the 2003 Exploring Health Disparities in Integrated Communities Study in Southwest Baltimore, Maryland (EHDIC-SWB) with nationally representative data for low SES white respondents from the 2003 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Rates for health behaviors and health indicators for whites from the EHDIC-SWB study as compared to NHIS prevalence estimates were as follows: current cigarette smoking, 59% (31% nationally); current regular drinking, 5% (5% nationally); overweight, 26% (32% nationally); obesity, 30% (22% nationally); mammography in the past 2 years, 50% (57% nationally); Pap smear in the past 2 years, 64% (68% nationally); screening for colon cancer in the past 2 years, 41% (30% nationally); and fair or poor self-reported health, 37% (22% nationally). Several cancer prevention behaviors and health indicators for white EHDIC-SWB respondents were far from the Healthy People 2010 objectives. This study provides rare estimates of cancer-related health and health care measures in an understudied population in the United States. Findings illustrate the need for further examination of health behaviors in low SES white urban populations who may share health risks with their poor minority urban counterparts.
PMCID: PMC2791816  PMID: 19597995
Urban health; Socioeconomic status; Preventive health; Health disparities; White
22.  Living Arrangements during Childrearing Years and Later Health of African American Mothers 
Using longitudinal data from the Woodlawn Project (N=680), this study examined how patterns of living arrangements among a community cohort of African American mothers were associated with later physical and emotional health. We identified eight patterns of stability and transition in living arrangements during the childrearing years. Health outcomes include SF-36 Physical Functioning, SF-36 Bodily Pain, depressed mood, and anxious mood. Specific patterns of living arrangements were related to later health, controlling for age, earlier health, education, and poverty. Poverty explained many, but not all, of the relationships between living arrangements and health. Findings underscored the benefits of social support and social integration and highlighted the negative effects of marital dissolution on health.
PMCID: PMC2836726  PMID: 20228963
African Americans; family structure; health and illness; longitudinal; poverty; social support
23.  Women, Smoking, and Social Disadvantage over the Life Course: A Longitudinal Study of African American Women 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2009;104(Suppl 1):S34-S41.
We compare life course characteristics of a cohort of African American women (N=457) by their smoking status at age 42: never smoker (34.1%), former smoker (27.8%), or current smoker (38.1%). The Woodlawn population from which our sample is drawn has been followed from first grade (1966–67) to mid adulthood (2002–3) and is a cohort of children from a disadvantaged Chicago community.
Examination of the effects of cumulative disadvantage on smoking behavior showed that nearly half of women who first lived in poverty as children, dropped out of school, became teen mothers, and were poor as young adults currently smoked; less than 22% of women with none of these difficulties were current smokers. Regression analyses focusing on smoking and evidence of social disadvantage in childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood showed that women with more education were much less likely to be current smokers. Women reporting low parental supervision in adolescence and less frequent church attendance in young adulthood and those whose mothers’ reported regular smoking were significantly more likely to be current smokers. Poverty and marital status in young adulthood varied significantly among smoking categories in bivariate relationships, but not in final multivariate regression models.
Few other studies have examined smoking careers with data from age 6 to 42, comparing social disadvantage characteristics over the life course. While marital status, church involvement and parental supervision are not usually included as measures of socioeconomic status, they represent advantages in terms of social capital and should be considered mechanisms for transmitting disparities.
PMCID: PMC2732764  PMID: 19616387
African Americans; smoking; life course; longitudinal study; SES; social disadvantage
24.  Social Connections in the Inner City: Examination across the Life Course 
Social connectedness has been shown to be related to health and well-being, yet there is little knowledge about its developmental and intergenerational origins. We examine the childhood, family, and neighbourhood origins of social connectedness in young adulthood in a cohort of African American children (N=1242) from Chicago followed since 1966. The five measures of social connections are: political involvement, organizational membership, church involvement, family ties, and friend ties. In multivariate analyses, predictors of social connectedness were found across the life course: first grade social adaptation to school, childhood family resources, family social participation, adult neighbourhood characteristics, social class, and marital status. We conclude that adult social connections have roots in childhood behaviour and social involvement, family resources and family social connections as well as one’s own resources and the neighbourhood where one lives.
PMCID: PMC2876332  PMID: 20508834
Life Course Study; Longitudinal Research; Social Connections; African American; Intergenerational; multi-Level; Neighbourhood; Social Class; Family; Social Adaptation
25.  Effects of Poverty and Family Stress Over Three Decades on Functional Status of Older African American Women 
The purpose of this study was to investigate the cumulative effects of poverty and family stressors to the later life functional status of African American women.
We used longitudinal data covering a 30-year period for a cohort of 553 African American women with common life experiences. Interviews were conducted with these women as young mothers, as mothers of adolescents, and in early old age (two thirds aged 60+). We classified women as high, usual, or low functioning by using physical and mental health indicators. We examined both timing and duration of poverty and family stressors.
Initially these women were largely healthy, but health declines were steeper and occurred earlier for those who were low functioning in later life. Persistent poverty was detrimental to functioning at older ages, as was persistent family stress. Women who left poverty early did not differ in later life functioning from women who were never poor.
Despite similar earlier life circumstances and health, there was substantial heterogeneity in functioning in early old age. Long-term poverty and family stress were strongly associated with being low functioning. Early poverty and transient family problems did not have lasting health effects, underscoring the plasticity of human development and the importance of interventions that can alter life course trajectories.
PMCID: PMC2828295  PMID: 18689769
Poverty; Functional status; Family stress; African American women

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