Among adolescents, expectations of early death have been linked to future risk behaviors. These expectations may also reduce personal investment in education and training, thereby lowering adult socioeconomic status attainment. The importance of socioeconomic status is highlighted by pervasive health inequities and dramatic differences in life expectancy among education and income groups. The objectives of this study were to investigate patterns of change in perceived chances of living to age 35 (Perceived Survival Expectations; PSE), predictors of PSE, and associations between PSE and future socioeconomic status attainment. We utilized the U.S. National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) initiated in 1994-95 among 20,745 adolescents in grades 7-12 with follow-up interviews in 1996 (Wave II), 2001-02 (Wave III) and 2008 (Wave IV; ages 24-32). At Wave I, 14% reported ≤ 50% chance of living to age 35 and older adolescents reported lower PSE than younger adolescents. At Wave III, PSE were similar across age. Changes in PSE from Wave I to III were moderate, with 89% of respondents reporting no change (56%), one level higher (22%) or one level lower (10%) in a 5-level PSE variable. Higher block group poverty rate, perceptions that the neighborhood is unsafe, and less time in the U.S. (among the foreign-born) were related to low PSE at Waves I and III. Low PSE at Waves I and III predicted lower education attainment and personal earnings at Wave IV in multinomial logistic regression models controlling for confounding factors such as previous family socioeconomic status, individual demographic characteristics, and depressive symptoms. Anticipation of an early death is prevalent among adolescents and predictive of lower future socioeconomic status. Low PSE reported early in life may be a marker for worse health trajectories.
adolescent behavior/psychology; adolescent health; perceptions of mortality; expectation of early death; socioeconomic status; hopelessness; United States
Indigenous populations experience higher rates of poverty, disease and mortality than non-indigenous populations. To gauge current and future risks among Tsimane Amerindians of Bolivia, I assess mortality rates and growth early in life, and changes in risks due to modernization, based on demographic interviews conducted Sept. 2002–July 2005. Tsimane have high fertility (Total Fertility Rate = 9) and infant mortality (13%). Infections are the leading cause of infant death (55%). Infant mortality is greatest among women who are young, monolingual, space births close together, and live far from town. Infant mortality declined during the period 1990–2002, and a higher rate of reported miscarriages occurred during the 1950–1989 period. Infant deaths are more frequent among those born in the wet season. Infant stunting, underweight and wasting are common (34%, 15% and 12%, respectively) and greatest for low-weight mothers and high parity infants. Regression analysis of infant growth shows minimal regional differences in anthropometrics but greater stunting and underweight during the first two years of life. Males are more likely to be underweight, wasted, and spontaneously aborted. Whereas morbidity and stunting are prevalent in infancy, greater food availability later in life has not yet resulted in chronic diseases (e.g. hypertension, atherosclerosis and diabetes) in adulthood due to the relatively traditional Tsimane lifestyle.
infant mortality; fetal death; Tsimane; Amerindian; Bolivia; indigenous health
Type 2 diabetes has escalated in urban India in the past two decades. Historically a disease of the affluent, recent epidemiological evidence indicates rising diabetes incidence and prevalence in urban India’s middle class and working poor. Although there is substantial qualitative data about people with diabetes from high-income countries, scant resources provide insight into diabetes experiences among those in India, and lower-income groups specifically. In this article, we use individual-level analysis of illness narratives to understand how people experience and understand diabetes across income groups in Delhi, India. We conducted in-depth qualitative interviews and administered the Hopkins Symptoms Check-List (HSCL-25) to evaluate depression among 59 people with diabetes in northeast Delhi between December 2011 and February 2012. We analyzed their responses to: 1) what caused your diabetes?; 2) what do you find most stressful in your daily life?; and 3) where do you seek diabetes care? We found few people held diabetes beliefs that were congruent with socio-spiritual or biomedical explanatory models, and higher income participants commonly cited “tension” as a contributor to diabetes. Stress associated with children’s futures, financial security, and family dynamics were most commonly reported, but how these subjective stresses were realized in people’s lives varied across income groups. Depression was most common among the poorest income group (55%) but was also reported among middle- (38%) and high-income (29%) participants. One-quarter of respondents reported diabetes distress, but only those from the low-income community reported co-occurring depression and these respondents often revealed poor access to diabetes care. These data suggest that lower-income populations not only have higher rates of depression but also may be more likely to delay health care and therefore develop diabetes complications. This research has many implications for public health care in India as diabetes prevalence shifts to affect lower income groups who concurrently experience higher rates of depression and poorer access to medical care.
Social Distress; Depression; Type 2 Diabetes; Qualitative Interviews; Urban Health; India
A rich literature indicates that individuals of lower socio-economic status engage in less leisure time physical activity than individuals of higher socio-economic status. However, the source of the difference is believed to be, in part, due to differential access to resources that support physical activity. However, it has not been shown as to whether equal access to parks can mitigate differences in leisure time physical activity. Using systematic direct observation, we quantified physical activity in neighborhood parks in a large Southern California city located in areas with high, medium, and a low percentage of households in poverty. We documented how neighborhood parks are managed and programmed and also interviewed both a sample of park users and a random sample of households within a mile radius of the parks. We found that parks are used less in high-poverty areas compared to medium- and low-poverty area parks, even after accounting for differences in size, staffing, and programming. The strongest correlates of park use were the number of part time staff, the number of supervised and organized programs, and knowing the park staff. Perceptions of safety were not relevant to park use among those interviewed in the park, however it had a small relationship with reported frequency of park use among local residents. Among park users, time spent watching electronic media was negatively correlated with the frequency of visiting the park. Future research should test whether increasing park staffing and programming will lead to increased park use in high-poverty neighborhoods.
Physical activity; parks; Southern California; socio-economic status; poverty; park management
Although immigrant youth have lower rates of substance use than US born youth, whether substance use varies by generation and time in the US is unclear. This study examines adolescent alcohol, tobacco and marijuana use by generation/time in US (i.e., first generation, in US ≤4 years; first generation, in US >4 years; second generation; and third generation or higher). Data come from a 2008 survey of Boston, Massachusetts public high school students (n=1,485). Multivariable logistic regression models were used to examine the association between generation/time in the US and risk of past 30-day substance use, adjusting for age and race/ethnicity. To determine whether the associations differed by gender, we fit gender stratified regression models. The prevalence of substance use was lowest among immigrants who had been in the US ≤4 years. Among girls, generation/time in US was not related to alcohol use or to tobacco use. For boys, being an immigrant regardless of number of years in the US, as well as second generation was associated with a significantly lower risk of tobacco use, compared to third generation youth. Additionally, immigrant boys who had been in the US ≤4 years had a significantly lower risk of alcohol use. Among both boys and girls, all first and second generation youth were significantly less likely to report marijuana use compared to third generation youth. Immigrant youth have a lower risk of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana use relative to US born youth; however the protective effect of foreign nativity on alcohol was eroded much more quickly than for tobacco or marijuana. The effects of generation and time in US on substance use differ by gender and the particular substance.
Substance Substance use; youth; immigrants; time in USA; gender; effect modification; USA
This study is the first to investigate neighborhood clustering of a personality trait – cynical hostility (a sense of mistrust of others amplified by suspicious antagonism.) Cynical hostility increases physiological reactivity by influencing appraisal and coping when stressful events occur and that has been well established as a predictor of cardiovascular disease, inflammation, and all-cause mortality. The analysis examines the associations of a variety of neighborhood physical and social conditions (especially ambient stressors) with individual cynical hostility, controlling for individual sociodemographics. Data are from the Chicago Community Adult Health Survey, a clustered population-based study of 3105 adults. Variation by neighborhood in cynical hostility is larger than variation of other selected health outcomes, which are commonly studied using ecological methods or for other personality measures. Controlling for neighborhood context reduces the black/white cynical hostility disparity by one-third. A measure of neighborhood ambient stressors (notably noise) significantly predicts cynical hostility, even after individual characteristics are controlled, and the effect size is larger than for other contextual predictors. Health-related psychosocial and personality traits may both cluster in and be influenced by contemporaneous neighborhoods rather than mere exogenous results of genes or early life conditions. Health-relevant psychosocial characteristics may also mediate effects of neighborhood deleterious physical conditions, thereby influencing downstream health outcomes and social disparities therein. Because residential location and neighborhood physical conditions are both modifiable, research on how ambient stressors influence health psychology may be particularly fruitful for health policy and practice.
United States; Cynical hostility; Traffic stressors; Psychosocial stressors; Geographical clustering; Physical environment; Neighborhood; Physiological reactivity
Dieting, unhealthy weight control and muscle-enhancing behaviors are common among adolescents: friends are a probable source of influence on these behaviors. The present study uses data provided by nominated friends to examine associations between friends' disordered eating and muscle-enhancing behaviors and participants' own behaviors in a diverse sample of American youth. Male and female adolescents (mean age = 14.4) completed surveys and identified their friends from a class roster; friends' survey data were then linked to each participant. Participants (N = 2126) who had at least one nominated friend were included in the analytic sample. Independent variables were created using the same weight control and muscle-enhancing behaviors reported by nominated friends, and were used in logistic regression models to test associations between participants' and their friends' behaviors, stratified by gender. Results indicated that dieting, disordered eating and muscle-enhancing behaviors were common in this sample, and selected friends' behaviors were associated with the same behaviors in participants. For example, girls whose friends reported extreme weight control behaviors had significantly greater odds of using these behaviors than girls whose friends did not report these same behaviors (OR = 2.39). This research suggests that friends' weight- and shape-related behaviors are a feature of social relationships, and is the first report demonstrating these associations for muscle-enhancing behaviors. Capitalizing on the social element may be important to the development of increasingly effective intervention and prevention programs.
U.S.A.; Adolescents; Disordered eating; Muscle-enhancing; Friends; Social influence
This study examines the association between maternal health service utilization and household decision-making in Bangladesh. Most studies of the predictors of reproductive health service use focus on women’s reports; however, men are often involved in these decisions as well. Recently, studies have started to explore the association between health outcomes and reports of household decision-making from both husbands and wives as matched pairs. Many studies of household decision-making emphasize the importance of the wife alone making decisions; however, some have argued that joint decision-making between husbands and wives may yield better reproductive health outcomes than women making decisions without input or agreement from their partners. Husbands’ involvement in decision-making is particularly important in Bangladesh because men often dominate household decisions related to large, health-related purchases. We use matched husband and wife reports about who makes common household decisions to predict use of antenatal and skilled delivery care, using data from the 2007 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey. Results from regression analyses suggest that it is important to consider whether husbands and wives give concordant responses about who makes household decisions since discordant reports about who makes these decisions are negatively associated with reproductive health care use. In addition, compared to joint decision-making, husband-only decision-making is negatively associated with antenatal care use and skilled delivery care. Finally, associations between household decision-making arrangements and health service utilization vary depending on whose report is used and the type of health service utilized.
Bangladesh; decision-making; husbands/wives; health service utilization; maternal health
Male labor migration is widespread in many parts of the world, yet its consequences for child outcomes and especially childhood mortality remain unclear. Male labor migration could bring benefits, in the form of remittances, to the families that remain behind and thus help child survival. Alternatively, the absence of a male adult could imperil the household's well-being and its ability to care for its members, increasing child mortality risks. In this analysis, we use longitudinal survey data from Mozambique collected in 2006 and 2009 to examine the association between male labor migration and under-five mortality in families that remain behind. Using a simple migrant/non-migrant dichotomy, we find no difference in mortality rates across migrant and non-migrant men's children. When we separated successful from unsuccessful migration based on the wife's perception, however, stark contrasts emerge: children of successful migrants have the lowest mortality, followed by children of non-migrant men, followed by the children of unsuccessful migrants. Our results illustrate the need to account for the diversity of men's labor migration experience in examining the effects of migration on left-behind households.
Mozambique; Labor migration; Child mortality
Social stress models are the predominant theoretical frame for studies of the relationship between social statuses and mental health (Horwitz 1999; Dressler, Oths, Gravlee 2005). These models propose that prejudice, discrimination and related social ills exert an added burden on socially disadvantaged populations (populations subjected to stigma, prejudice and discrimination) that can generate mental health problems. Researchers have used a variety of methodological approaches to study this hypothesis. In this paper we argue that researchers have not paid sufficient attention to the implications of this methodological variability, particularly the distinction between studies of within-group and studies of between-groups variation, in interpreting empirical tests of social stress theory. To fully evaluate the evidence, we need to carefully consider the convergence and divergence of results across diverse methodologies.
stress; prejudice; methodology; health disparities; mental health; minority populations
The global obesity epidemic is a major public health concern and there is strong evidence that the drivers are varied and operate via diverse pathways. Taking a systems approach allows the contextual influences operating upon the individual to be identified and quantified. We adopt such a perspective in this study, where longitudinal data from a cohort of 24,966 settled individuals participating in two major health surveys, the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT 1 and 2) in the county of Nord-Trøndelag, Norway, were used to investigate associations between individual, family and area characteristics and two outcomes: body mass index (BMI) at follow-up and BMI change over an 11 year period. Linear multilevel models were fitted, with individuals nested in 17,500 families, 447 wards and 24 municipalities. A range of putative individual, family, and area predictors were tested. We found both outcomes were strongly associated with individual characteristics, with higher BMIs generally being amongst males, unmarried participants, non-smokers, those of lower education and those undertaking physically demanding work but participating in less physical activity outside work. The characteristics of those in the sample exhibiting higher BMI gain were rather similar except that women gained more and those with no employment income gained less. Contextual influences were also found to be important; although just 1 % of the unexplained variance was located on the neighbourhood and municipality levels respectively, and hence suggesting small environmental influences, between 10-13 % could be attributed to families, highlighting the importance of the familial contextual environment. Rather little is known about the manner by which family influences may operate on bodyweight hence further work is needed to understand likely mechanisms and guide future interventions.
We examine the role of perceived stress and health behaviors (i.e., cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, sleep duration) in shaping differential mortality among whites, blacks, and Hispanics. We use data from the 1990 National Health Interview Survey (N=38,891), a nationally representative sample of United States adults, to model prospective mortality through 2006. Our first aim examines whether unhealthy behaviors and perceived stress mediate race/ethnic disparities in mortality. The black disadvantage in mortality, relative to whites, closes after adjusting for socioeconomic status (SES), but re-emerges after adjusting for the lower smoking levels among blacks. After adjusting for SES, Hispanics have slightly lower mortality than whites; that advantage increases after adjusting for the greater physical inactivity among Hispanics, but closes after adjusting for their lower smoking levels. Perceived stress, sleep duration, and alcohol consumption do not mediate race/ethnic disparities in mortality. Our second aim tests competing hypotheses about race/ethnic differences in the relationships among unhealthy behaviors, perceived stress, and mortality. The social vulnerability hypothesis predicts that unhealthy behaviors and high stress levels will be more harmful for race/ethnic minorities. In contrast, the Blaxter (1990) hypothesis predicts that unhealthy lifestyles will be less harmful for disadvantaged groups. Consistent with the social vulnerability perspective, smoking is more harmful for blacks than for whites. But consistent with the Blaxter hypothesis, compared to whites, current smoking has a weaker relationship with mortality for Hispanics, and low or high levels of alcohol consumption, high levels of physical inactivity, and short or long sleep hours have weaker relationships with mortality for blacks.
Race; ethnicity; mortality; health behaviors; stress; USA
We examine how a policy aimed at improving patient safety by limiting residents’ work hours brought with it an unintended and unexamined consequence: altered socialization due to modified rites of passage during residency that endangered the stereotypical “Surgical Personality” and created a potential rift between the occupational identities of surgical residents who train under duty hour regulations and those who trained before they were imposed. Through participant observation occurring between June 2008 and June 2010, in-depth interviews (n=13), and focus groups (n=2), we explore how surgical residents training in four U.S. hospitals think about the threats that the shift from unrestricted to restricted duty hours creates for their claims of competence and professionalism. We identify three types of resident responses: (1) neutralizing statements that deny any significant change to occupational identity has occurred; (2) embracing statements that express the belief that a changed and more balanced occupational identity is needed; and (3) apprehensive statements that expressed fear of an altered occupational identity and an anxiety about readiness for individual practice.
USA; physicians; patient safety; resident socialization; occupational identity; rites of passage; work hour restrictions; surgical residency; medical education
Condom promotion remains a key component of HIV prevention programs, complimenting recent successes in biomedical HIV prevention. Although condom use has increased in much of East Africa, it remains substantially below optimal levels. Negative rumors about condoms have been documented in East Africa, yet the prevalence and effects of belief in the negative rumors have not been explored. This study evaluated levels of belief in negative rumors about condoms, developed a Negative Condom Beliefs Scale, and assessed its accuracy in predicting willingness to use condoms. A cross-sectional, cluster survey (n=370) was conducted representing adults in two rural districts in Northern Tanzania in 2008. Item agreement ranged from 35–53% for the following rumors regarding condoms: causing cancer, having holes, containing HIV, having worms, and the worms causing HIV. Items loaded on a single latent factor and had high internal consistency and convergent validity. In a multivariate model, negative condom score (AOR=0.67, 95% CI=0.6, 0.8) was the strongest single predictor of willingness to use condoms, followed by greater perceived anonymity in acquiring condoms (AOR=4.36, 95% CI=2.2, 8.6) and higher condom self-efficacy (AOR=4.24, 95% CI=2.0, 8.9). Our findings indicate high levels of subscription to negative beliefs about condoms, with two out of three respondents affirming belief in at least one negative condom rumor. This study highlights the relation between condom rumor beliefs and willingness to use condoms, and indicates avenues for future research and means for improving the design of HIV prevention programs.
HIV; prevention; condoms; Africa; Tanzania; behavioral research; survey research
Most nutrition initiatives to date aimed at improving infant and young child feeding (IYCF) have emphasized addressing knowledge gaps through behavior change messaging with less focus on addressing the underlying environmental barriers that may shape these behaviors. This research integrates an analysis of longitudinal dietary data with qualitative data on barriers to improved child feeding to identify the nature and extent of the barriers caregivers face to improving IYCF practices in a farming region of the Bolivian Andes, and to determine the relative influence of these barriers on caregivers’ abilities to improve IYCF practices. Sixty-nine caregivers were selected from a sample of 331 households that participated in a longitudinal survey assessing changes in IYCF practices among caregivers with children aged 0–36 months from March 2009 to March 2010. Forty-nine barriers within 12 categories of barriers were identified through semi-structured interviews with the 69 caregivers. The most frequently reported barriers were those related to women’s time dedicated to agricultural labor, the limited diversity of household agricultural production, and lack of support for child feeding from spouses and mothers-in-law. In multivariate analyses controlling for several variables that could potentially influence IYCF practices, these barriers were negatively associated with changes to the diversity of child diets, child dietary energy intake, and child meal frequency. While knowledge gaps and individual-level influences affected IYCF practices, physical and social caregiving environments in this region of Bolivia were even more important. Behavior change communication alone will likely not address the social and environmental barriers to improved child feeding that often prevent translation of improved knowledge into action. Particularly in rural regions, agriculture may strongly influence child feeding, not only indirectly through household food security, but also directly by affecting women’s caregiving capacity.
Renewed enthusiasm for biomedical HIV prevention strategies has followed the recent publication of several high-profile HIV antiretroviral therapy-based HIV prevention trials. In a recent article, Roberts & Matthews (2012) accurately note some of the shortcomings of these individually targeted approaches to HIV prevention and advocate for increased emphasis on structural interventions that have more fundamental effects on the population distribution of HIV. However, they make some implicit assumptions about the extent to which structural interventions are user-independent and more sustainable than biomedical or behavioral interventions. In this article, I elaborate a simple typology of structural interventions along these two axes and suggest that they may be neither user-independent nor sustainable and therefore subject to the same sustainability concerns, costs, and potential unintended consequences as biomedical and behavioral interventions.
AIDS/HIV; behavioural interventions; biomedicine; developing countries; international health; social determinants
Unique to Africa, a means-tested non-contributory pension is available to South Africans. In 2006, women over 60 and men over 65 were pension-eligible. To explore the effect of the pension for health and wellbeing indicators of rural South African men and women, we analyze data from the WHO-INDEPTH Study of Global Ageing and Adult Health Survey, carried out in the Agincourt sub-district by the MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt) in 2006. Because pension receipt was not measured directly, our findings represent intent-to-treat (ITT) rather than treatment-on-the-treated (TOT) effects using age as an indicator for intent-to-treat. Overall, women report poorer wellbeing compared to men. However, women have a “honeymoon” period at ages 60–64, the first years of pension-eligibility, in which they report lower levels of worry and sadness, and higher overall happiness, life satisfaction, and quality of life as compared to younger and older women. For men, in contrast, reports of wellbeing worsen in the pre-pension years, followed by a similar but not as prominent pattern of favorable reports in the five years following pension-eligibility, and a decline in the next five-year period. Thus, while pensions continue to enhance financial wellbeing, our results suggest that their effect on social wellbeing may be gendered and transitory. Further research is needed to improve understanding of these dynamics.
South Africa; gender; pension; social wellbeing; quality of life; health and demographic surveillance system; aging
It is often hypothesized that psychosocial stress may contribute to associations of socioeconomic position (SEP) with risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, few studies have investigated this hypothesis among African Americans, who may be more frequently exposed to stressors due to social and economic circumstances. Cross-sectional data from the Jackson Heart Study (JHS), a large population-based cohort of African Americans, were used to examine the contributions of stressors to the association of SEP with selected cardiovascular (CVD) risk factors and subclinical atherosclerotic disease. Among women, higher income was associated with lower prevalence of hypertension, obesity, diabetes and carotid plaque and lower levels of stress. Higher stress levels were also weakly, albeit positively, associated with hypertension, diabetes, and obesity, but not with plaque. Adjustment for the stress measures reduced the associations of income with hypertension, diabetes and obesity by a small amount that was comparable to, or larger, than the reduction observed after adjustment for behavioral risk factors. In men, high income was associated with lower prevalence of diabetes and stressors were not consistently associated with any of the outcomes examined. Overall, modest mediation effects of stressors were observed for diabetes (15.9%), hypertension (9.7%), and obesity (5.1%) among women but only results for diabetes were statistically significant. No mediation effects of stressors were observed in men. Our results suggest that stressors may partially contribute to associations of SEP with diabetes and possibly hypertension and obesity in African American women. Further research with appropriate study designs and data is needed to understand the dynamic and interacting effects of stressors and behaviors on CVD outcomes as well as sex differences in these effects.
U.S.A.; Stress; social patterning; cardiovascular disease; risk factors; mediation analysis; African Americans
Heart attack, or acute myocardial infarction (AMI), is a leading cause of death in the United States (US). The most effective therapy for AMI is rapid revascularization: the mechanical opening of the clogged artery in the heart. Forty-four percent of patients with AMI who are admitted to a non-revascularization hospital in the US are transferred to a hospital with that capacity. Yet, we know little about the process by which community hospitals complete these transfers, and why publicly available hospital quality data plays a small role in community hospitals’ choice of transfer destinations. Therefore, we investigated how community hospital staff implement patient transfers and select destinations. We conducted a mixed methods study involving: interviews with staff at three community hospitals (n = 25) in a Midwestern state and analysis of US national Medicare records for 1996–2006. Community hospitals in the US, including our field sites, typically had longstanding relationships with one key receiving hospital. Community hospitals addressed the need for rapid AMI patient transfers by routinizing the collective, interhospital work process. Routinization reduced staff uncertainty, coordinated their efforts and conserved their cognitive resources for patient care. While destination selection was nominally a physician role, the decision was routinized, such that staff immediately contacted a “usual” transfer destination upon AMI diagnosis. Transfer destination selection was primarily driven at an institutional level by organizational concerns and bed supply, rather than physician choice or patient preference. Transfer routinization emerged as a form of social order that invoked tradeoffs between process speed and efficiency and patient-centered, quality-driven decision making. We consider the implications of routinization and institutional imperatives for health policy, quality improvement and health informatics interventions.
Interhospital patient transfers; Quality information; AMI; United States
Although socioeconomic status (SES) has been to shown to be associated with susceptibility to involuntary job loss as well as with health, the ways in which individual SES indicators may moderate the job loss-health association remain underexplored. Using data from the Americans’ Changing Lives study, we estimate the ways in which the association between job loss and depressive symptoms depends on five aspects of SES—education, income, occupational prestige, wealth, and homeownership. Our findings indicate that higher SES prior to job loss is not uniformly associated with fewer depressive symptoms. Higher education and lower prestige appear to buffer the health impacts of job loss, while financial indicators do not. These results have a number of implications for understanding the multidimensional role that social inequality plays in shaping the health effects of job loss.
USA; Socioeconomic status (SES); Job loss; Health inequalities; Unemployment; Depressive symptoms
The management of misaligned paternity findings raises important controversy worldwide. It has mainly, however, been discussed in the context of high-income countries. Genetic and genomics research, with the potential to show misaligned paternity, are becoming increasingly common in Africa. During a genomics study in Kenya, a dilemma arose over testing and sharing information on paternal sickle cell disease status. This dilemma may be paradigmatic of challenges in sharing misaligned paternity findings in many research and health care settings. Using a deliberative approach to community consultation to inform research practice, we explored residents' views on paternal testing and sharing misaligned paternity information. Between December 2009 and November 2010, 63 residents in Kilifi County were engaged in informed deliberative small group discussions, structured to support normative reflection within the groups, with purposive selection to explore diversity. Analysis was based on a modified framework analysis approach, drawing on relevant social science and bioethics literature.
The methods generated in-depth individual and group reflection on morally important issues and uncovered wide diversity in views and values. Fundamental and conflicting values emerged around the importance of family interests and openness, underpinned by disagreement on the moral implications of marital infidelity and withholding truth. Wider consideration of ethical issues emerging in these debates supports locally-held reasoning that paternal sickle cell testing should not be undertaken in this context, in contrast to views that testing should be done with or without the disclosure of misaligned paternity information. The findings highlight the importance of facilitating wider testing of family members of affected children, contingent on the development and implementation of national policies for the management of this inherited disorder. Their richness also illustrates the potential for the approach adopted in this study to strengthen community consultation.
•Community consultation on misaligned paternity in Kenya highlights morally important diversity.•Openness and family interests are central conflicting values in debates on misaligned paternity.•In research paternal requests for sickle cell disease testing generate prohibitive moral challenges.•Informed deliberative group discussions strengthen ethical outcomes of community consultation.
Kenya; Misaligned paternity; Genetic testing; Genetic and genomics research; Community consultation; Empirical ethics; Sickle cell disease; Africa
Informal caregiving continues to be a crucial part of health and social care provision in the developed world, but the processes by which the identity of informal caregiver is conferred, or assumed, remain unclear. In this article we draw on data from a qualitative research study which examined the experiences of family members and friends of people with multiple sclerosis (pwMS) to explore how they interpret the label ‘carer’. We conducted narrative interviews with forty people throughout the United Kingdom between June 2011 and January 2012. Participants were spouses, partners, parents, children, siblings or friends of people who have had multiple sclerosis between 6 months and fifty years. We carried out thematic analysis of the interviews, informed by identity theory. Identity theory illuminated variation in peoples' perceptions of themselves as carers, suggesting that self-identification with the role and label of carer is nuanced, shifting and variable. We propose a taxonomy of caring activity including emotional support, personal care, physical care, household tasks, advocacy and activism and describe four categories, with fluid and overlapping boundaries, in which the identity of carer was apparently embraced, enforced, absorbed or rejected. Variability and fluidity in self-identification as a carer are related to apparent expectations about whether one should assume a caring role. Those who were caring from the more tangential (and less taken for granted) relationship of sibling or ex-partner were among those who apparently embraced the role. Those who were expected to assume the caring role (typically spouses) were not always comfortable with doing so. It may be difficult to gain acknowledgement from family members and others that they occupy the role of carer if people resist the label as a bureaucratisation of their personal relationships.
•Processes conferring the identity of informal caregiver are unclear.•A taxonomy of caring is described, from emotional support to advocacy and activism.•Self-identification with the label ‘carer’ is nuanced, shifting and variable.•Caring identity may be embraced, absorbed, rejected or feel enforced.
UK; Carer; Caregiver; Identity; Informal care; Multiple sclerosis; Narrative; Qualitative research
With costs exceeding $5.8 billion per year, violence against women has significant ramifications for victims, their families, the health care systems that treat them, and the employers who depend on their labor. Prior research has found that alcohol abuse contributes to violence against both men and women, and that stringent alcohol control policies can reduce alcohol consumption and in turn some forms of violence. In this paper, we estimate the direct relationship between an important alcohol control measure, excise taxes, and the most extreme form of violence, homicide. We use female homicide rates as our measure of severe violence, as this measure is consistently and accurately reported across multiple years. Our results provide evidence that increased alcohol taxes reduce alcohol consumption and that reductions in alcohol consumption can reduce femicide. Unfortunately, a direct test of the relationship does not have the power to determine whether alcohol taxes effectively reduce female homicide rates. We conclude that while alcohol taxes have been shown to effectively reduce other forms of violence against women, policy makers may need alternative policy levers to reduce the most severe form of violence against women.
female homicide; violence; domestic violence; intimate partner violence; alcohol use; substance use; policy; taxes; consumption
The aim of the study was to examine the social networks of sexual minority youths and to determine the associations between social networks and depressive symptoms. Data were obtained from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), a nationally representative cohort study of American adolescents (N=14,212). Wave 1 (1994–1995) collected extensive information about the social networks of participants through peer nomination inventories, as well as measures of sexual minority status and depressive symptoms. Using social network data, we examined three characteristics of adolescents’ social relationships: (1) social isolation; (2) degree of connectedness; and (3) social status. Sexual minority youths, particularly females, were more isolated, less connected, and had lower social status in peer networks than opposite-sex attracted youths. Among sexual minority male (but not female) youths, greater isolation as well as lower connectedness and status within a network were associated with greater depressive symptoms. Moreover, greater isolation in social networks partially explained the association between sexual minority status and depressive symptoms among males. Finally, a significant 3-way interaction indicated that the association between social isolation and depression was stronger for sexual minority male youths than non-minority youths and sexual minority females. These results suggest that the social networks in which sexual minority male youths are embedded may confer risk for depressive symptoms, underscoring the importance of considering peer networks in both research and interventions targeting sexual minority male adolescents.
USA; sexual orientation; social networks; depression; minorities; adolescents
Despite limited HIV prevention potency, peer-based programs have become one of the most often used HIV prevention approaches internationally. These programs demonstrate a need for greater specificity in peer change agent (PCA) recruitment and social network evaluation. In the present three-phase study based in India (2009–2010), we first explored the nature of friendship among truck-drivers, a group of men at high risk for HIV infection, in order to develop a thorough understanding of the social forces that contribute to and maintain their personal networks. This was accomplished in the first two study phases, through a combination of focus group discussions (n=5 groups), in-depth qualitative interviews (n=20), and personal network analyses (n=25) of truck-drivers to define friendship and deepen our understanding of friendship across geographic spaces. Measures collected in phases I and II included friend typologies, discussion topics, social network influences, advice-giving, and risk reduction. Outcomes were assessed through an iterative process of qualitative textual analysis and social network analysis. The networks of truck-drivers were found to comprise three typologies: close friends, parking lot friends, and other friends. From these data, we developed an algorithmic approach to the identification of a candidate PCA within a high-risk man’s personal network. In stage III we piloted field-use of this approach to identify and recruit PCAs, and further evaluated their potential for intervention through preliminary analysis of the PCA’s own personal networks. An instrument was developed to translate what social network theory and analysis has taught us about egocentric network dynamics into a real-world methodology for identifying intervention-appropriate peers within an individual’s personal network. Our approach can be tailored to the specifications of any high-risk population, and may serve to enhance current peer-based HIV interventions.
India; Social Networks; HIV; Truck Drivers; Peer-based Interventions; men