This research investigates the relationship between per capita tobacco control expenditures, cigarette consumption, and healthcare expenditures in the state of Arizona. Arizona’s tobacco control program, which was established in 1994, concentrates on youth uptake of smoking and avoids public policy and commentary on the tobacco industry. We use a cointegrating time series analysis using aggregate data on healthcare and tobacco control expenditures, cigarette consumption and prices and other data. We find there is a strong association between per capita healthcare expenditure and per capita cigarette consumption. In the long run, a marginal increase in annual cigarette consumption of one pack per capita increases per capita healthcare expenditure by $19.5 (SE $5.45) in Arizona. A cumulative increase of $1.00 in the difference between control state and Arizona per capita tobacco control expenditures increases the difference in cigarette consumption by 0.190 (SE 0.0780) packs per capita. In 2004, the cumulative reduction between 1996 to 2004 in pre-tax cigarette sales revenue due to Arizona’s tobacco control expenditures was $500 million (95% CI: $99.0 million, $896 million). The cumulative healthcare savings was $2.33 billion (95% CI $0.374 billion, $5.00 billion) and the cumulative reduction in cigarette consumption was 200 million packs (95% CI 39.0 million packs, 364 million packs). Arizona’s tobacco control expenditures are associated with reduced cigarette consumption and healthcare expenditures, amounting to about 10 times the cost of the program through 2004. This return on investment, while large, was less than the more aggressive California program, which did not limit its focus to youth and included tobacco industry denomalization messages.
Medical Economics; Tobacco Control; Tobacco Use (Smoking); Environmental and Public Health; Health Education; Healthcare Costs; USA
Social participation is a key determinant of successful and healthy aging and therefore an important emerging intervention goal for health professionals. Despite the interest shown in the concept of social participation over the last decade, there is no agreement on its definition and underlying dimensions. This paper provides an inventory and content analysis of definitions of social participation in older adults. Based on these results, a taxonomy of social activities is proposed. Four databases (Medline, CINAHL, AgeLine and PsycInfo) were searched with relevant keywords (Aging OR Ageing OR Elderly OR Older OR Seniors AND Community involvement/participation OR Social engagement/involvement/participation) resulting in the identification of 43 definitions. Using content analysis, definitions were deconstructed as a function of who, how, what, where, with whom, when, and why dimensions. Then, using activity analysis, we explored the typical contexts, demands and potential meanings of activities (main dimension). Content analysis showed that social participation definitions (n=43) mostly focused on the person’s involvement in activities providing interactions with others in society or the community. Depending on the main goal of these social activities, six proximal to distal levels of involvement of the individual with others were identified: 1) doing an activity in preparation for connecting with others, 2) being with others, 3) interacting with others without doing a specific activity with them, 4) doing an activity with others, 5) helping others, and 6) contributing to society. These levels are discussed in a continuum that can help distinguish social participation (levels 3 through 6) from parallel but different concepts such as participation (levels 1 through 6) and social engagement (levels 5 and 6). This taxonomy might be useful in pinpointing the focus of future investigations and clarifying dimensions specific to social participation.
PMID: 21044812 CAMSID: cams2448
Social participation; Community involvement; Social engagement; Social involvement; Social role; Social activities; Community participation; Social interaction; Older adults
Relative to non-Latino whites, Latinos in the United States have a lower socioeconomic status (SES) profile, but a lower all-cause mortality rate. Because lower SES is associated with poorer overall health, a great deal of controversy surrounds the Latino mortality paradox. We employed a secondary data analysis of the 1991 National Health Interview Survey to test the health behavior and acculturation hypotheses, which have been proposed to explain this paradox. These hypotheses posit that: (1) Latinos have more favorable health behaviors and risk factor profiles than non-Latino whites, and (2) Health behaviors and risk factors become more unfavorable with greater acculturation. Specific health behaviors and risk factors studied were: smoking, alcohol use, leisure-time exercise activity, and body mass index (BMI). Consistent with the health behaviors hypothesis, Latinos relative to non-Latino whites were less likely to smoke and drink alcohol, controlling for sociodemographic factors. Latinos, however, were less likely to engage in any exercise activity, and were more likely to have a high BMI compared with non-Latino whites, after controlling for age and SES. Results provided partial support for the acculturation hypothesis. After adjusting for age and SES, higher acculturation was associated with three unhealthy behaviors (a greater likelihood of high alcohol intake, current smoking, a high BMI), but improvement in a fourth (greater likelihood of recent exercise). Gender-specific analyses indicated that the observed differences between Latinos and non-Latino whites, as well as the effects of acculturation on health behaviors, varied across men and women. Results suggest that the health behaviors and acculturation hypotheses may help to at least partially explain the Latino mortality paradox. The mechanisms accounting for the relationship between acculturation and risky behaviors have yet to be identified.
Latino mortality paradox; Smoking; Alcohol use; Exercise; Body mass index; USA
Placebos are an essential tool in randomised clinical trials, where they are used to control for contextual healing effects. Placebos and their effects are also studied from multiple diverse perspectives, but the perspectives of placebo recipients are seldom considered. Research shows that people form cognitive and affective representations of active treatments such as medicines, and that they use these representations to guide their behaviour; it seems reasonable to suggest that people might also think about and develop representations of placebos. We adopted a qualitative approach to examine in detail how participants in one RCT, conducted in the USA, conceptualised placebos. 12 people were interviewed 3 times each, at the start, middle, and end of a trial of placebo effects and acupuncture for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The interview data were analysed inductively and we identified four ways in which the participants conceptualised placebos: placebos are necessary for research; placebo effects are fake; placebo acupuncture is not real acupuncture; placebos have real effects mediated by psychological mechanisms. Participants’ conceptualisations of placebos were dynamic and situated in a broader psychological and socio-cultural context. Seeing placebo effects as legitimate seemed to be facilitated by having more holistic models of healing, viewing IBS as psychological, and seeing treatment as multifactorial. However, some participants maintained a negative view of placebo effects (e.g. as illusions) that was apparently inconsistent with their other beliefs (e.g. in mind-body healing mechanisms). This may indicate a dominance of negative discourses around placebos at a socio-cultural level. Negative views of placebos are inconsistent with evidence that placebo treatments can have positive effects on symptoms. RCT participants should be informed about potential benefits of placebo treatments to avoid misunderstandings and unease. Future work should improve methods of providing participants with full accurate information about placebos and their effects.
USA; placebo; placebo effect; illness cognition; informed consent; acupuncture; health knowledge; attitudes; practice; IBS
The existence of a direct effect of early socioeconomic position (SEP) on adult mental health outcomes net of adult SEP is still debated. This question demands the explicit modeling of pathways linking early SEP to adult SEP and mental health. In light of this background, we pursue two objectives in this study. First, we examine whether depressive symptoms in adulthood can be fit in a trajectory featuring both an intercept, or baseline range of depressive symptoms that varied between individuals, and a slope describing the average evolution of depressive symptoms over the years. Second, we estimate the direct and indirect pathways linking early SEP, respondents’ education and adult household income, with a particular focus on whether early SEP retains a significant direct effect on the trajectory of depressive symptoms once adult SEP is entered into the pathway model. Drawing from 29 years of cohort data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, a survey that has been following a national probability sample of American civilian and military youth (Zagorsky and White, 1999), we used structural equation models to estimate the pathways between parents’ education, respondent’s education, and latent growth curves of household income and depressive symptoms. We found that the effect of parents’ education was entirely mediated by respondent’s education. In turn, the effect of respondent’s education was largely mediated by household income. In conclusion, our findings showed that the socioeconomic attainment process that is rooted in parents’ education and leads to respondent’s education and then to household income is a crucial pathway for adult mental health. These results suggest that increasing educational opportunities may be an effective policy to break the intergenerational transmission of low socioeconomic status and poor mental health.
depressive symptoms; USA; mental health; life course; structural equation model; latent growth curve; trajectories; socioeconomic position
Community Health Workers (CHWs) play a pivotal role in primary care, serving as liaisons between community members and medical providers. However, the growing reliance of health care systems worldwide on CHWs has outpaced research explaining their praxis – how they combine indigenous and technical knowledge, overcome challenges and impact patient outcomes. This paper thus articulates the CHW Praxis and Patient Health Behavior Framework. Such a framework is needed to advance research on CHW impact on patient outcomes and to advance CHW training. The project that originated this framework followed Community-Based Participatory Research principles. A team of U.S.-Brazil research partners, including CHWs, worked together from conceptualization of the study to dissemination of its findings. The framework is built on an integrated conceptual foundation including learning/teaching and individual behavior theories. The empirical base of the framework comprises in-depth interviews with 30 CHWs in Brazil's Unified Health System, Mesquita, Rio de Janeiro. Data collection for the project which originated this report occurred in 2008–10. Semi-structured questions examined how CHWs used their knowledge/skills; addressed personal and environmental challenges; and how they promoted patient health behaviors. This study advances an explanation of how CHWs use self-identified strategies – i.e., empathic communication and perseverance – to help patients engage in health behaviors. Grounded in our proposed framework, survey measures can be developed and used in predictive models testing the effects of CHW praxis on health behaviors. Training for CHWs can explicitly integrate indigenous and technical knowledge in order for CHWs to overcome contextual challenges and enhance service delivery.
Brazil; Community Health Workers' Praxis; Patient outcome; CBPR
This study examined the relationship between loneliness, health, and mortality using a U.S. nationally representative sample of 2,101 adults aged 50 years and over from the 2002 to 2008 waves of the Health and Retirement Study. We estimated the effect of loneliness at one point on mortality over the subsequent six years, and investigated social relationships, health behaviors, and health outcomes as potential mechanisms through which loneliness affects mortality risk among older Americans. We operationalized health outcomes as depressive symptoms, self-rated health, and functional limitations, and we conceptualized the relationships between loneliness and each health outcome as reciprocal and dynamic. We found that feelings of loneliness were associated with increased mortality risk over a 6-year period, and that this effect was not explained by social relationships or health behaviors but was modestly explained by health outcomes. In cross-lagged panel models that tested the reciprocal prospective effects of loneliness and health, loneliness both affected and was affected by depressive symptoms and functional limitations over time, and had marginal effects on later self-rated health. These population-based data contribute to a growing literature indicating that loneliness is a risk factor for morbidity and mortality and point to potential mechanisms through which this process works.
U.S.A.; Loneliness; Mortality; Emotional Health; Functional Health; Self-Rated Health; Longitudinal Study; Cross-Lagged Path Model; elderly
This paper examines the associations between Chinese and Korean immigrant parents’ early life material and food deprivation and their concern about their child’s diet or weight, preferences for heavier children, and weight-promoting diet and child weight, alongside the moderating role of parents’ acculturation toward American culture. In 2010, Chinese and Korean immigrant parents of children ages 3–8 years in the United States (N = 130) completed interviews which asked about their perceived early life material deprivation and food insecurity, acculturation, child feeding practices, and evaluations of whether their child weighed more or less than the ideal, and child consumption of soda and candy. Independent measures of child and parent BMI were also obtained. Regression analyses revealed that parents’ early life food insecurity was associated with the evaluation that their child should weigh more than they do and greater consumption of soda and sweets by their child, among the least acculturated parents. Parental material deprivation was associated with more laissez-faire child feeding practices: less monitoring, less concern about the child’s weight or diet, and less perceived responsibility for the child’s diet, but only among less acculturated parents. Overall, the results suggest that immigrant parents’ child feeding practices and body size evaluations are shaped by material hardship in childhood, but these influences may fade as acculturation occurs.
U.S.A.; Chinese immigrant children; Korean immigrant children; Early life deprivation; Acculturation; Feeding practices; Child weight
Emerging research has revealed that subjective social status (SSS), or how people perceive their position in the social hierarchy, is significantly associated with multiple health outcomes. Yet few studies have examined how this association is affected by the person or group to whom respondents are comparing themselves. While previous studies have used distal referent groups when assessing SSS, scholars have suggested that individuals may prefer to make comparisons to those who share similar characteristics to themselves. Overall, there has been little empirical analysis assessing the health impact of comparing oneself to one referent group over another. Using a diverse, national U.S. sample (n=3,644), this study explores whether the relationship between SSS and self-rated health is sensitive to the referent used for social comparison. Data are from respondents who completed the Styles mail surveys and who have assessed their SSS against four referents: others in American society, others of the same race or ethnicity, neighbors, and parents at the same age. Self-rated health was the dependent variable, while we controlled for household income, education, home ownership, race/ethnicity, and other covariates. In logistic regression models, SSS using each of the four referents was significantly associated with self-rated health, but the model using the referent of others in American society had the strongest association with self-rated health and was the most parsimonious. Findings validate previous studies which typically have used a more distal referent such as others in American society in exploring the SSS-health relationship. However, future work should explore whether this referent is salient to diverse population groups when making social comparisons. Researchers may also want to consider using SSS as an additional status measure since it may capture more subtle differences in the status hierarchy than traditional economic measures.
This study exploits an exogenous health shock—the birth of a child with a severe health condition that is considered by the medical community to be random—to investigate the effect of that shock on the family’s housing situation. We use population-based data from an urban birth cohort study in the U.S. that oversampled nonmarital births, resulting in a relatively disadvantaged sample that may be particularly susceptible to the effects of adverse life events. The health conditions were recorded in the infants’ hospital medical records and coded by a pediatric consultant to capture conditions that are considered both severe and random. Seven different housing outcomes in the domains of quality, crowding, and stability were assessed from maternal interviews and in-home assessments when the children were 3 years old. We found that poor child health increases the likelihood of both overcrowding and homelessness and that it may also increase the likelihood of having inadequate utilities and generally poor housing quality. The effect sizes ranged from 1 to 17 percentage points, depending on the measure of poor child health and housing outcome.
child health; housing; homelessness; home crowding; housing stability; housing quality; USA
This paper combines resources from the organization studies and sociology literatures to advance understanding of institutional change processes in healthcare that emerge from the professionalization projects of occupations. Conceptually, we introduce a model that combines the ‘archetype’ approach to analyzing structural change with a framework for analyzing the agency of emergent professions. We then employ the model to frame a historical case analysis (1972-2009) of the highly contested process by which the occupation of dental hygiene in the US fought to introduce a new organizational form, the alternative practice hygiene (APH) archetype. This archetype challenges the traditional model (the Dentist's Office archetype) that is supported by the dominant dentistry profession. Our analysis contributes two main sets of empirical findings. First, we present a systematic comparison of the APH and Dentist's Office archetypes in terms of their belief systems, formal structures, agents, and policy implications (e.g., access to services). Second, we provide an account of the agency of dental hygienists' attempts to secure the APH model as part of their professionalization project.
Organisation theory; medical sociology; health policy; institutional theory; sociology of the professions; USA; dental health
This paper examines the association of women's social networks with the use of skilled birth attendants in uncomplicated pregnancy and childbirth in Matlab, Bangladesh. The Network-Episode Model was applied to determine if network structure variables (density / kinship homogeneity / strength of ties) together with network content (endorsement for or against a particular type of birth attendant) explain the type of birth attendant used by women above and beyond the variance explained by women's individual attributes. Data were collected by interviewing a representative sample of 246 women, 18–45 years of age, using survey and social network methods between October and December 2008. Logistic regression models were used to examine the associations. Results suggest that the structural properties of networks did not add to explanatory value but instead network content or the perceived advice of network members add significantly to the explanation of variation in service use. Testing aggregate network variables at the individual level extends the ability of the individual profile matrix to explain outcomes. Community health education and mobilization interventions attempting to increase demand for skilled attendants need to reflect the centrality of kinship networks to women in Bangladesh and the likelihood of women to heed the advice of their network of advisors with regard to place of birth.
Bangladesh; Network-Episode Model; Social networks; Skilled birth attendants; Health seeking behavior; Utilization; childbirth; Maternal mortality
The current study examines how poverty and education in both the family and school contexts influence adolescent weight. Prior research has produced an incomplete and often counterintuitive picture. We develop a framework to better understand how income and education operate alone and in conjunction with each other across families and schools. We test it by analyzing data from Wave 1 of the U.S.-based National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (N= 16,133 in 132 schools) collected in 1994–1995. Using hierarchical logistic regression models and parallel indicators of family- and school-level poverty and educational resources, we find that at the family-level, parent’s education, but not poverty status, is associated with adolescent overweight. At the school-level, the concentration of poverty within a school, but not the average level of parent’s education, is associated with adolescent overweight. Further, increases in school poverty diminish the effectiveness of adolescents’ own parents’ education for protecting against the risks of overweight. The findings make a significant contribution by moving beyond the investigation of a single socioeconomic resource or social context. The findings push us to more fully consider when, where, and why money and education matter independently and jointly across health-related contexts.
U.S.A.; adolescent; overweight; obesity; income; education; family; school; multilevel modeling
This paper investigates the link between disability and subjective wellbeing, using data from the 2009 Disability and Use of Time supplement to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the longest running national panel study in the United States. Disability is construed broadly to include both the presence of any physical, cognitive, or sensory impairment or activity limitation and also the severity of underlying impairments. Subjective wellbeing is measured using two distinct approaches: reports of life satisfaction and of moment-to-moment wellbeing—both positive and negative—on the previous day. The latter, collected through 24-h time diaries, also offers for the first time the ability to explore the role of participation in particular kinds of activities linking disability to subjective wellbeing. The analytic sample included married persons ages 60 and older and their spouses (n = 751 married individuals) who completed 1498 diaries. Several new findings emerged: no matter what the measure of wellbeing, older married adults with disability report worse subjective wellbeing than those without, and neither different demographic and socioeconomic profiles nor differences in participation fully account for these disparities. Influences of disability on global life satisfaction and episodic reports of happiness were relatively small and of comparable size. However, notably sizeable differences were identified in the cumulative number of pleasant minutes experienced yesterday by disability status - on the order of 71 fewer minutes on average for those with a disability of average severity. Differences appear to be more strongly linked to somatic symptoms of pain and feeling tired than to differential intensity of experiencing happiness, sadness, frustration, or worry. We also found limited support for the notion that participation partially mediates the relationship between disability and global, but not episodic, subjective wellbeing.
United States; Disability; Wellbeing; Participation; Time use; Panel study; Older people
For asthma and psychological morbidity, it is well established that higher prevalence among males in childhood is replaced by higher prevalence among females by adolescence. This review investigates whether there is evidence for a similar emerging female ‘excess’ in relation to a broad range of physical morbidity measures. Establishing whether this pattern is generalised or health outcome-specific will further understandings of the aetiology of gender differences in health. Databases (Medline; Embase; CINAHL; PsycINFO; ERIC) were searched for English language studies (published 1992–2010) presenting physical morbidity prevalence data for males and females, for at least two age-bands within the age-range 4–17 years. A three-stage screening process (initial sifting; detailed inspection; extraction of full papers), was followed by study quality appraisals. Of 11 245 identified studies, 41 met the inclusion criteria. Most (n = 31) presented self-report survey data (five longitudinal, 26 cross-sectional); 10 presented routinely collected data (GP/hospital statistics). Extracted data, supplemented by additional data obtained from authors of the included studies, were used to calculate odds ratios of a female excess, or female:male incident rate ratios as appropriate. To test whether these changed with age, the values were logged and regressed on age in random effects meta-regressions. These showed strongest evidence of an emerging/increasing female excess for self-reported measures of headache, abdominal pain, tiredness, migraine and self-assessed health. Type 1 diabetes and epilepsy, based on routinely collected data, did not show a significant emerging/increasing female excess. For most physical morbidity measures reviewed, the evidence broadly points towards an emerging/increasing female excess during the transition to adolescence, although results varied by morbidity measure and study design, and suggest that this may occur at a younger age than previously thought.
► Review of international evidence of gender-by-age differences in child and adolescent physical morbidity. ► Meta-regressions show an emerging/increasing female excess for several measures. ► An emerging/increasing male excess was seen for type 1 diabetes only. ► Findings suggest female excess physical morbidity emerges in mid-late childhood. ► Longitudinal studies commencing in childhood are needed to understand gender patterning of health.
Physical morbidity; Child; Adolescent; Gender; Review; Meta-analyses; Headache; Diabetes
The social environment plays a considerable role in determining major psychiatric disorders. Emerging evidence suggests that features of the social environment modify gene expression independently of the primary DNA sequence through epigenetic processes. Accordingly, dysfunction of epigenetic mechanisms offers a plausible mechanism by which an adverse social environment gets “into the mind” and results in poor mental health. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of the studies suggesting that epigenetic changes introduced by the social environment then manifest as psychological consequences. Our goal is to build a platform to discuss the ways in which future epidemiologic studies may benefit from including epigenetic measures. We focus on schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, anorexia nervosa, and substance dependence as examples that highlight the ways in which social environmental exposures, mediated through epigenetic processes, affect mental health.
Epigenetics; Social environment; Psychiatric disorders; Methylation
Little is known about factors that influence willingness to engage in treatment for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). From 2007 to 2008, in the context of a longitudinal study assessing ADHD detection and service use in the United States, we simultaneously elicited ADHD treatment perceptions from four stakeholder groups: adolescents, parents, health care professionals and teachers. We assessed their willingness to use ADHD interventions and views of potential undesirable effects of two pharmacological (short- and long-acting ADHD medications) and three psychosocial (ADHD education, behavior therapy, and counseling) treatments. In multiple regression analysis, willingness was found to be significantly related to respondent type (lower for adolescents than adults), feeling knowledgeable, and considering treatments acceptable and helpful, but not significantly associated with stigma/embarrassment, respondent race, gender and socioeconomic status. Because conceptual models of undesirable effects are underdeveloped, we used grounded theory method to analyze open-ended survey responses to the question: “What other undesirable effects are you concerned about?” We identified general negative treatment perceptions (dislike, burden, perceived ineffectiveness) and specific undesirable effect expectations (physiological and psychological side-effects, stigma and future dependence on drugs or therapies) for pharmacological and psychosocial treatments. In summary, findings indicate significant discrepancies between teens’ and adults’ willingness to use common ADHD interventions, with low teen willingness for any treatments. Results highlight the need to develop better treatment engagement practices for adolescents with ADHD.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; treatment willingness; stakeholder perceptions; side effect perceptions; barriers to evidence-based treatment; USA
Preterm birth rates are higher in the United States than in most industrialized countries, and have been rising steadily. Some attribute these trends to changing demographics, with more older mothers, more infertility, and more multiple births. Others suggest that changes in obstetrics are behind the trends. We sought to determine what the preterm birth rate in 2004 would have been if demographic factors had not changed since 1989. We examined complete US birth certificate files from 1989 and 2004 and used logistic regression models to estimate what the 2004 preterm birth rates (overall, spontaneous, and medically induced) would have been if maternal age, race, nativity, gravidity, marital status, and education among childbearing women had not changed since 1989. While the overall preterm births increased from 11.2% to 12.8% from 1989-2004, medically induced rates increased 94%, from 3.4% to 6.6%, and spontaneous rates declined by 21%, from 7.8% to 6.2%. Had demographic factors in 2004 been what they were in 1989, the 2004 rates would have been almost identical. Changes in multiple births accounted for only 16% of the increase in medically induced rates. Our analysis suggests that the increase in preterm births is more likely to be due primarily to changes in obstetric practice, rather than to changes in the demographics of childbearing. Further research should examine the degree to which these changes in obstetric practice affect infant morbidity and mortality.
C-section; Demographic Trends; Induction; Prenatal care; Preterm birth; USA
The prevalence of overweight is higher for Hispanic children of immigrants than children of natives. This does not fit the pattern of the epidemiological paradox; the widely supported finding that immigrants tend to be healthier than their U.S.-born peers, and it suggests that exposure to the U.S. increases immigrant children’s risk of overweight. This study’s primary contribution is to better assess how exposure to the U.S. environment affects childhood overweight among a homogamous ethnic group, Mexican-Americans. We do so by using an innovative binational study design to compare the weight of Mexican-American children of immigrants, Mexican-American children of natives, and Mexican children in Mexico with different propensities of having immigrant parents. Cross-sectional data are derived from a pooled sample of 9,982 6–19 year old children living in either Mexico or the United States in the early 2000s. Mexican-resident children with a very high propensity to have immigrant parents have significantly lower percentile BMIs and lower odds of overweight than Mexican children with lower propensities of emigration and U.S.-resident Mexican-American children. This suggests that selection into immigration streams does not account for the high prevalence of overweight among children of Mexican immigrants. Rather, U.S. exposure significantly raises children of Mexican immigrants’ risk of being overweight. Moreover, second generation children have the highest percentile BMIs and greatest odds of overweight of all comparison groups, including children of natives. This suggests that they experience risks above and beyond the effects of exposure to American society.
Mexico; Mexican-American; immigration; acculturation; child obesity; overweight; epidemiological paradox; USA
An extensive literature demonstrates various negative health consequences of family disruption in Western societies, which is largely due to marital dissolution. In developing settings, family disruption commonly arises in the context of labor out-migration. However, studies on household emigration often focus on the economic benefits from remittances, overlooking emigration as a source of stress and loss of social support. This research examines the psychosocial consequences of internal out-migration using longitudinal survey data collected in Indonesia between 1993 and 2007. Results demonstrate considerable psychosocial costs of out-migration, with adults left behind by migrants more susceptible to stress-related health impairments such as hypertension and to psychological distress such as depressive symptoms. These findings largely hold when specific relations are investigated, including spouses left behind and parents left behind by adult children. This study also finds some support for the stress-buffering role of social support from extended families and the differential psychosocial processes for men and women.
Indonesia; Migration; migrants; Sending areas; Psychosocial health; Depression; gender; social support
Despite the large number of studies, mostly in developed economies, there is limited consensus on the health effects of inequality. Recently a related literature has examined the relationship between relative deprivation and health as a mechanism to explain the economic inequality and health relationship. This study evaluates the relationship between mortality and economic inequality, as measured by area-level Gini coefficients, as well as the relationship between mortality and relative deprivation, in the context of a middle-income country, Costa Rica. We followed a nationally representative prospective cohort of approximately 16,000 individuals aged 30 and over who were randomly selected from the 1984 census. These individuals were then linked to the Costa Rican National Death Registry until Dec. 31, 2007. Hazard models were used to estimate the relative risk of mortality for all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality for two indicators: canton-level income inequality and relative deprivation based on asset ownership. Results indicate that there was an unexpectedly negative association between canton income inequality and mortality, but the relationship is not robust to the inclusion of canton fixed-effects. In contrast, we find a positive association between relative deprivation and mortality, which is robust to the inclusion of canton fixed-effects. Taken together, these results suggest that deprivation relative to those higher in a hierarchy is more detrimental to health than the overall dispersion of the hierarchy itself, within the Costa Rican context.
Relative Income Hypothesis; Mortality; Income Inequality; Relative Deprivation; Costa Rica; health inequalities
There is a growing interest in understanding how the experience of socioeconomic status (SES) adversity across the life course may accumulate to negatively affect the functioning of biological regulatory systems important to functioning and health in later adulthood. The goal of the present analyses was to examine whether greater life course SES adversity experience would be associated with higher scores on a multi-system allostatic load (AL) index of physiological function in adulthood. Data for these analyses are from 1,008 participants (92.2% White) from the Biomarker Substudy of the Study of Midlife in the US (MIDUS). Multiple indicators of SES adversity in childhood (parent educational attainment, welfare status, financial situation) and two points in adulthood (educational attainment, household income, difficulty paying bills, availability of money to meet basic needs, current financial situation) were used to construct SES adversity measures for each life course phase. An AL score was constructed using information on 24 biomarkers from 7 different physiological systems (sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, cardiovascular, lipid metabolism, glucose metabolism, inflammatory immune activity). Analyses indicate higher AL as a function of greater SES adversity at each phase of, and cumulatively across, the life course. Associations were only moderately attenuated when accounting for a wide array of health status, behavioral and psychosocial factors. Findings suggest that SES adversity experience may cumulate across the life course to have a negative impact on multiple biological systems in adulthood. An important aim of future research is the replication of current findings in this predominantly White sample in more ethnically diverse populations.
socioeconomic status; SES; allostatic load; biomarkers; health inequalities; life course; USA
Hurricane Katrina, which struck the Gulf Coast of the United States in August 2005, exposed area residents to trauma and extensive property loss. However, little is known about the long-run effects of the hurricane on the mental health of those who were exposed. This study documents long-run changes in mental health among a particularly vulnerable group—low income mothers—from before to after the hurricane, and identifies factors that are associated with different recovery trajectories. Longitudinal surveys of 532 low-income mothers from New Orleans were conducted approximately one year before, 7 to 19 months after, and 43 to 54 months after Hurricane Katrina. The surveys collected information on mental health, social support, earnings and hurricane experiences. We document changes in post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS), as measured by the Impact of Event Scale-Revised, and symptoms of psychological distress (PD), as measured by the K6 scale. We find that although PTSS has declined over time after the hurricane, it remained high 43 to 54 months later. PD also declined, but did not return to pre-hurricane levels. At both time periods, psychological distress before the hurricane, hurricane-related home damage, and exposure to traumatic events were associated with PTSS that co-occurred with PD. Hurricane-related home damage and traumatic events were associated with PTSS without PD. Home damage was an especially important predictor of chronic PTSS, with and without PD. Most hurricane stressors did not have strong associations with PD alone over the short or long run. Over the long run, higher earnings were protective against PD, and greater social support was protective against PTSS. These results indicate that mental health problems, particularly PTSS alone or in co-occurrence with PD, among Hurricane Katrina survivors remain a concern, especially for those who experienced hurricane-related trauma and had poor mental health or low socioeconomic status before the hurricane.
Mental health; natural disasters; Hurricane Katrina; USA; women
In the context of low rates of participation in a prospective, population-based HIV surveillance programme, researchers at a surveillance site in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, conducted an operational study from January 2009 to February 2010, with the aim of improving participation rates, particularly in the provision of dried blood spots for the surveillance. Findings suggest, firstly, that consent to participation in the HIV surveillance is informed by the dynamics of relationality in the HIV surveillance “consent encounter.”
Secondly, it emerged that both fieldworkers and participants found it difficult to differentiate between HIV surveillance and HIV testing in the surveillance procedure, and tended to understand and explain giving blood under the aegis of the surveillance as an HIV test. The conflation of surveillance and testing, we argue, is not merely a semantic confusion, but reveals an important tension inherent to global health research between individual risks and benefits and collective good, or between private morality and public good. Because of these structural tensions, we suggest, the HIV surveillance consent encounter activates multiple gift economies in the collection of blood samples. Thinking beyond the complex ethical dimensions provoked by new forms of long-term surveillance and health research, we therefore suggest that deepening relations between scientists, fieldworkers, and study participants in locality deserve more careful methodological consideration and descriptive attention.
► Consent and refusal to HIV surveillance take place in the context of everyday social relations and local exchange economies. ► Local notions of gift and relatedness and rights and obligations frame exchanges of blood for knowledge in HIV surveillance. ► Participants struggled to differentiate HIV surveillance from testing, thereby blurring concepts of risk and benefit. ► Surveillance programs should engage with local constructions of risk, benefit and relatedness in research design.
South Africa; Ethics; Surveillance research; Obligation and reciprocity; Kinship; Local relations; HIV testing; Participation
Although HIV-positive patients’ adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) is relatively high in African nations, as compared with industrialized nations, few studies have explored why. In the research presented here we aimed to understand the dynamics of good adherence to ART among patients receiving free ART and HIV-related services from a clinic in Arusha, Tanzania. We conducted individual semi-structured interviews with 6 health care providers and 36 patients at the study site. Interviews were conducted in Swahili using interview guides informed by social cognitive theory. All interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed in Kiswahili, translated into English and coded for themes and patterns with Atlas t.i. Of the 36 patients interviewed (mean time on ART 9.8 months; range 1–23 months), 32 reported perfect adherence in the previous month. Self-reported adherence was high despite economic hardship, depression, low rates of HIV disclosure and high perceived HIV-associated stigma. Five factors emerged to explain excellent adherence in the face of such barriers. First, all respondents experienced substantial improvements in their health after starting ART; this supported their confidence in the medication and motivated them to adhere. Second, their perceived need to be able to meet their family responsibilities motivated respondents to stay healthy. Third, respondents developed specific strategies to remember to take pills, particularly routinizing pill-taking by linking it with daily activities or events. Fourth, material and emotional support received from others facilitated adherence. Finally, respondents trusted the advice and instructions of their health care providers, who regularly emphasized adherence. The facilitating factors identified were consistent with the constructs of social cognitive theory and highlighted the importance of interventions that address multiple levels of influence on adherence.