Research on the intimate partnerships of female sex workers (FSWs) tends to focus on the risks associated with these relationships. This paper takes as its starting point that the situation of FSWs is better understood by including knowledge of the benefits of their intimate partnerships. Specifically, we employ the conceptual framework provided by emergent research examining intimacy as a complex fusion of affective and instrumental dimensions among sex workers. This perspective allows us to frame information about FSWs’ intimate partnerships within a behaviour-structural approach that is helpful for identifying how intimate partnerships can be a source of both benefit as well as increased risk to FSWs.
Our results are based on a mixed-methods study carried out in the summer of 2011 in Kibera, Kenya. We conducted face-to-face interviews (n=30) with a non-probability sample of FSWs stratified by age who self-identified as Human Immune Virus positive (HIV+). We asked about participants’ involvement in current and past intimate partnerships, and whether these relationships had a positive or negative impact on their health and well‒being.
Participants currently in intimate partnerships had fewer clients and thus lower incomes than those without intimate partnerships. Participants presently with partners were also more likely to receive some financial support from partners, to report lower intimate partner violence, and to narrate higher partner emotional support and greater assistance with medications. These participants were also more likely to have disclosed their sex work and HIV+ statuses to their partners. Intimate partnerships, on the other hand, showed increased risk of economic vulnerability and emotional dependence for FSWs. This became especially problematic for those participants in fragile relationships. Despite these variations, none of the differences between the two groups were statistically significant.
Intimacy and transactional relations are bound up with one another and intersect with the structural realities and vulnerabilities; this is the case for sex workers in well-resourced and resourced-constrained countries alike. Rather than treating intimate partnerships as distinct from transactional relationships, FSWs’ relationships should be viewed on a continuum of risk and support.
Intimate partnerships; Female sex workers; HIV; Resource-constrained countries; Empowerment approach; Kenya
The dispersion of motorcycle related injuries and deaths might be a result of disparity in motorcycle helmet use. This study uses national roadside survey data, injury sentinel surveillance data and other national data sets in 2010 of Thailand, a country with high mortality related to motorcycle injuries, to explore the disparity in helmet use, explanatory factors of the disparity. It also assessed potential agreement and correlation between helmet use rate reported by the roadside survey and the injury sentinel surveillance. This report revealed helmet use rate of 43.7%(95% CI:43.6,43.9) nationwide with the highest rate (81.8%; 95% CI: 44.0,46.4) in Bangkok. Helmet use rate in drivers (53.3%; 95% CI: 53.2,53.8) was 2.5 times higher than that in passengers (19.3%; 95% CI:18.9,19.7). In relative terms (highest-to-lowest ratio,HLR), geographical disparity in helmet use was found to be higher in passengers (HLR=28.5). Law enforcement activities as indicated by the conviction rate of motorcyclists were significantly associated with the helmet use rate (spline regression coefficient = 3.90, 95% CI: 0.48,7.33). Together with the finding of HLR for conviction rate of 87.24, it is suggested that more equitable improvement in helmet use could be achieved by more equitable distribution of the police force. Finally, we found poor correlation (r=0.01; p value = 0.76) and no agreement (difference = 34.29%; 95% CI:13.48%, 55.09%) between roadside survey and injury sentinel surveillance in estimating helmet use rate. These findings should be considered a warning for employing injury surveillance to monitor policy implementation of helmet use.
Inequity; Helmet use; Resource allocation; Law enforcement
Monitoring inequalities in healthcare is increasingly being recognized as a key first step in providing equitable access to quality care. However, the detailed sociodemographic data that are necessary for monitoring are currently not routinely collected from patients in many jurisdictions. We undertook a mixed methods study to generate a more in-depth understanding of public opinion on the collection of patient sociodemographic information in healthcare settings for equity monitoring purposes in Ontario, Canada. The study included a provincial survey of 1,306 Ontarians, and in-depth interviews with a sample of 34 individuals. Forty percent of survey participants disagreed that it was important for information to be collected in healthcare settings for equity monitoring. While there was a high level of support for the collection of language, a relatively large proportion of survey participants felt uncomfortable disclosing household income (67%), sexual orientation (40%) and educational background (38%). Variation in perceived importance and comfort with the collection of various types of information was observed among different survey participant subgroups. Many in-depth interview participants were also unsure of the importance of the collection of sociodemographic information in healthcare settings and expressed concerns related to potential discrimination and misuse of this information. Study findings highlight that there is considerable concern regarding disclosure of such information in healthcare settings among Ontarians and a lack of awareness of its purpose that may impede future collection of such information. These issues point to the need for increased education for the public on the purpose of sociodemographic data collection as a strategy to address this problem, and the use of data collection strategies that reduce discomfort with disclosure in healthcare settings.
Health inequalities; Data collection; Public opinion
The socio-economic circumstances and health of people with disabilities has been relatively ignored in public health research, policy and practice in Australia and internationally. This is despite emerging evidence that the socio-economic circumstances that people with disabilities live in contributes to their poorer health. Compared to other developed countries, Australians with disabilities are more likely to live in disadvantaged circumstances, despite being an economically prosperous country; it is therefore likely that the socio-economic disadvantage experienced by Australians with disabilities makes a significant contribution to their health. Despite the importance of this issue Australia does not routinely monitor the socio-economic inequalities for people with disabilities. This paper addresses this gap by describing time trends in socio-economic conditions for Australians with and without disabilities according to the severity of the disability and sex.
Cross-sectional analyses of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers were carried out at three time points (1998, 2003 and 2009) to estimate the proportions of women and men (aged between 25 and 64 years) who were living on low incomes, had not completed year 12, were not in paid work, living in private rental and experiencing multiple disadvantage (three or more of the indicators).
People with disabilities are less likely to have completed year 12, be in paid work and are more likely to be living on low incomes and experiencing multiple disadvantage. These conditions worsened with increasing severity of disability and increased or persisted over time, with most of the increase between 1998 and 2003. While women with milder disabilities tended to fare worse than men, the proportions were similar for those with moderate and severe/profound disabilities.
People with disabilities experience high levels of socio-economic disadvantage which has increased or persisted over time and these are likely to translate into poorer health outcomes. A large proportion experience multiple forms of disadvantage, reinforcing the need to tackle disadvantage in a coordinated way across sectors.
People with disabilities should be a priority population group for public health. Monitoring socio-economic conditions of people with disabilities is critical for informing policy and assessing the impact of disability reforms.
Disability; Time trends; Socio-economic disadvantage; Gender
Despite greater need, rural inhabitants and individuals of low socioeconomic status (SES) are less likely to undertake cardiac rehabilitation (CR). This study examined barriers to enrollment and participation in CR among these under-represented groups.
Cardiac inpatients from 11 hospitals across Ontario were approached to participate in a larger study. Rurality was assessed by asking participants whether they lived within a 30-minute drive-time from the nearest hospital, with those >30 minutes considered “rural.” Participants completed a sociodemographic survey, which included the MacArthur Scale of Subjective Social Status. One year later, they were mailed a survey which assessed CR utilization and included the Cardiac Rehabilitation Barriers Scale. In this cross-sectional study, CR utilization and barriers were compared by rurality and SES.
Of the 1809 (80.4%) retained, there were 215 (11.9%) rural participants, and the mean subjective SES was 6.37 ± 1.76. The mean CRBS score was 2.03 ± 0.73. Rural inhabitants reported attending significantly fewer CR sessions (p < .05), and greater CR barriers overall compared to urban inhabitants (p < .01). Patients of lower subjective SES were significantly less likely to be referred, enroll, and participate in CR, and reported significantly greater barriers to CR compared to their high SES counterparts (p < .01). Prominent barriers for both groups included distance, cost, and transportation problems. These relationships sustained adjustment, and a significant relationship between having undergone coronary artery bypass graft surgery and lower barriers was also identified.
The results confirm that rural inhabitants and patients of low SES experience greater barriers to CR utilization when compared to their urban, high SES counterparts. It is time to implement known strategies to overcome these barriers, to achieve equitable and greater use of CR.
Cardiac rehabilitation; Rural; Socioeconomic status
In adults, multimorbidity is associated with social position. Socially disadvantaged adults typically experience more chronic illness at a younger age than comparable individuals who are more advantaged. The relation between social position and multimorbidity amongst children and adolescents has not been as widely studied and is less clear.
The NHS Information Centre (NHS IC) linked participants in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) to the General Practice Research Database (GPRD). Multimorbidity was measured in three different ways: using a count of the number of drugs prescribed, a count of chronic diseases, and a person’s predicted resource use score; the latter two measures were derived using the Johns Hopkins ACG system. A number of different socio-economic position variables measured as part of ALSPAC during pregnancy and early childhood were considered. Ordered logistic and negative binomial regression models were used to investigate associations between socio-economic variables and multimorbidity.
After mutually adjusting for the different markers of socio-economic position, there was evidence, albeit weak, that chronic condition counts among children aged from 0 to 9 years were higher among those whose mothers were less well educated (OR = 0.44; 95% confidence interval 0.18-1.10; p = 0.08). Conversely, children whose mothers were better educated had higher rates of chronic illness between 10 and 18 years (OR = 1.94; 95% CI 1.14-3.30). However, living in a more deprived area, as indicated by the Townsend score, was associated with a higher odds of chronic illness between 10 and 18 years (OR for each increasing decile of Townsend score = 1.09; 95% CI 1.00-1.19; p = 0.06).
We have found some evidence that, in younger children, multimorbidity may be higher amongst children whose parents are less well educated. In older children and adolescents this association is less clear. We have also demonstrated that linkage between prospective observational studies and electronic patient records can provide an effective way of obtaining objectively measured outcome variables.
Multimorbidity; Socio-economic position; Determinants; Childhood; Adolescence; Chronic conditions; ALSPAC; Linkage; GPRD
Multimorbidity, presence of two or more health conditions, is a widespread phenomenon affecting populations’ health all over the world. It becomes a serious public health concern due to its negative consequences on quality of life, mortality, and cost of healthcare services utilization. Studies exploring determinants of multimorbidity are limited, particularly those looking at vulnerable populations prospectively over time. This study aimed at identifying short and long term socioeconomic, psychosocial, and health behavioral determinants of incident multimorbidity among a cohort of the 1988 Armenian earthquake survivors.
The study included a representative subsample of 725 from a larger initial cohort of the earthquake survivors. Data on this subsample were collected via four phases of this cohort study during the period 1990–2012. The final logistic regression analysis eliminated all those cases with baseline multimorbidity to investigate short and long term determinants of incident multimorbidity; this subsample included 600 participants.
More than 75% of the studied sample had multimorbidity. Perceived low affordability of healthcare services, poor living standards during the post-earthquake decade, and lower education were independent predictors of incident multimorbidity developed during the period 1990–2012. Stressful life events and poor social support were among psychosocial determinants of incident multimorbidity. Participants’ baseline BMI reported in 1990 was independently associated with incident multimorbidity.
Most of the identified determinants of incident multimorbidity in our study population were markers of social inequities, indicating that inequities pose a serious threat to both individual and public health-related outcomes. Strategies targeting to decrease such inequities along with promotion of healthy lifestyle and strengthening of social networks may considerably reduce multimorbidity among population groups with similar socioeconomic and cultural profiles.
Multimorbidity; Determinants; Inequity; Life events; Earthquake; Cohort; Armenia
The number of subjects with tuberculosis (TB) presenting with co-occurrence of multiple chronic medical conditions, or multimorbidity (MM) is increasing in Brazil. This manuscript aimed to characterize subjects with TB, according to their MM status and to analyse factors associated with TB treatment outcomes.
This is a cross-sectional study that included 39,881 TB subjects reported in Brazil, in 2011. MM were defined as any (two or more) occurrence of chronic medical conditions in a TB patient (TB–MM). Data analysis was performed by hierarchical logistic regression models comparing TBMM with those with only TB.
Of the reported TB cases in 2011, 454 (1.14%) had MM. The subjects in the age group 40–59 years (OR: 17.89; 95% CI, 5.71-56.03) and those ≥ 60 years (OR: 44.11; 95% CI, 14.09-138.06) were more likely to develop TB–MM. The TB–MM subjects were less likely to be male (OR: 0.63; 95% CI, 0.52-0.76), institutionalized (OR: 0.59; 95% CI, 0.23-0.80) and live in rural areas (OR: 0.63; 95% CI, 0.42-0.95). Death from causes other than TB was higher among TB–MM subjects (OR: 1.76; 95% CI, 1.36-2.28). Of 454 TB–MM subjects 302 (66.5%) were cured and 152 (33.5%) were not cured. The odds of not being cured was 1.55 (95% CI, 1.04-2.32) among males, 2.85 (95% CI, 1.12-7.28) among institutionalized subjects, and 3.93 (IC 95%, 1.86-8.30) among those who were infected with HIV. TB retreatment after previous abandonment (OR: 7.53; 95% CI, 2.58-21.97) and transfer from a treatment site (OR: 2.76; 95% CI, 1.20-6.38) were higher for subjects not cured compared to those who were cured.
While TB is well recognized to be a disease engendered by social inequity, we found that even among TB patients, those who have MM have greater inequity in terms of socioeconomic status and adverse clinical outcomes. Addressing the problem of TB and TB–MM requires a multisectorial approach that includes health and social service organizations.
Tuberculosis; Multimorbidities; Inequity; Social determinants; Hierarchical models
To investigate the association between multimorbidity and Preference_Weighted Health Related Quality of Life (PW_HRQoL), a score that combines physical and mental functioning, and how this varies by socioeconomic deprivation and age.
The Scottish Health Survey (SHeS) is a cross-sectional representative survey of the general population which included the SF-12, a survey of HRQoL, for individuals 20 years and over.
For 7,054 participants we generated PW_HRQoL scores by running SF-12 responses through the SF-6D algorithm. The resulting scores ranged from 0.29 (worst health) to 1 (perfect health). Using ordinary least squares, we first investigated associations between scores and increasing counts of longstanding conditions, and then repeated for multimorbidity (2+ conditions). Estimates were made for the general population and quintiles of socioeconomic deprivation. For multimorbidity, the analyses were repeated stratifying the population by age group (20–44, 45–64, 65+).
45% of participants reported a longstanding condition and 18% reported multimorbidity. The presence of 1, 2, or 3+ longstanding conditions were associated with average reductions in PW_HRQoL scores of 0.081, 0.151 and 0.212 respectively. Reduction in scores associated with multimorbidity was 33% greater in the most deprived quintile compared to the least deprived quintile, with the biggest difference (80%) in the 20–44 age groups. There were no significant gender differences.
PW_HRQoL decreases markedly with multimorbidity, and is exacerbated by higher deprivation and younger age. There is a need to prioritise interventions to improve the HRQoL for (especially younger) adults with multimorbidity in deprived areas.
What Is Known?
Prevalence and premature onset of multimorbidity increases as socioeconomic position worsens. Previous studies have investigated the effect of multimorbidity on Health Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) on separate physical and mental health states. There is limited data on how HRQoL falls as the number of conditions increase, and how estimates vary across the general population.
Leaving physical and mental health as separate categories can inhibit assessment of overall HRQoL. The use of a Preference_Weighted Health Related Quality of Life (PW_HRQoL) score provides a single summary measure of overall health, by weighting mental and physical states by their perceived importance as part of overall HRQoL. The use of a single score enables a simple and consistent assessment of the impact of conditions and how this varies across the population. Economists term PW_HRQoL scores health utilities.
What this study adds?
This is the first study to estimate how the impact of multimorbidity on PW_HRQoL scores varies by age group and socioeconomic deprivation. Multimorbidity has a substantial negative impact on HRQoL which is most severe in areas of deprivation, especially in younger adults.
Measuring the burden of multimorbidity using PW_HRQoL provides consistency with how economists measure HRQoL; changes in which can be used in economic evaluation to assess the cost effectiveness of interventions.
Multimorbidity; Preference_Weighted Health Related Quality of Life (PW_HRQoL); Deprivation; Inequality
Multi-morbidity such as cumulating mental health, behavioral, and school difficulties (consumptions of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, and hard drugs, obesity, depressive symptoms, suicide attempts, involvement in violence, and low school performance) is common in early adolescence and can be favored by a number of socioeconomic factors (gender, age, nationality, family structure, parents’ education, father’ occupation, and income). This study assessed the concurrent roles of various socioeconomic factors in multi-morbidity defined as cumulated number of difficulties (CD) which has been partially documented.
Adolescents from middle schools in north-eastern France (N = 1,559) completed a questionnaire measuring socioeconomic characteristics and mental health, behavioral, and school difficulties. Data were analyzed using logistic regression models.
Alcohol use affected 35.2% of subjects, tobacco use 11.2%, cannabis use 5.6%, hard drugs use 2.8%, obesity 10.6%, depressive symptoms 13.3%, suicide attempts 9.9%, involvement in violence 10.3%, and low school performance 8.2%. Insufficient income and non-intact families impacted most mental health, behavioral, and school difficulties with adjusted odds ratios (ORa) between 1.51 and 3.72. Being immigrant impacted illicit drugs use and low school performance (ORa 2.31-4.14); low parents’ education depressive symptoms (1.42) and school performance (3.32); and manual-worker/inactive offspring low school performance (2.56-3.05). Multi-morbidity was very common: CD0 44.1%, CD1 30.8%, CD2-3 18.4%, and CD ≥ 4 6.7%. Insufficient income, divorced/separated parents, reconstructed families, and single parents played impressive roles with strong ORa gradients (reaching 4.86) from CD1 to CD ≥ 4. Being European immigrant, low parents’ education, and low fathers’ occupations had significant gender-age-adjusted odds ratios for CD2-3 and CD ≥ 4, but these became non-significant when adjusted for all socioeconomic factors. Older adolescents had higher risks for multi-morbidity which did not change when adjusting for all socioeconomic factors.
Multi-morbidity including a wide range of mental health, behavioral, and school difficulties was common in early adolescence. Insufficient income and non-intact families played impressive roles. Being immigrant, low parents’ education, and low fathers’ occupations also played strong roles but these were explained by insufficient income and non-intact families. Prevention against multi-morbidity should be designed to help adolescents to solve their difficulties, especially among adolescents with socioeconomic difficulties.
Adolescents; Multi-morbidity; Mental health difficulties; Unhealthy behaviors; Drugs consumptions; Obesity; Socioeconomic factors; Social inequalities
Multimorbidity has been linked to elevated healthcare utilization and previous studies have found that socioeconomic status is an important factor associated with multimorbidity. Nonetheless, little is known regarding the impact of multimorbidity and socioeconomic status on healthcare costs and whether inequities in healthcare exist between socioeconomic classes within a universal healthcare system.
This longitudinal study employed the claims database of the National Health Insurance of Taiwan (959 990 enrolees), adopting medication-based Rx-defined morbidity groups (Rx-MG) as a measurement of multimorbidity. Mixed linear models were used to estimate the effects of multimorbidity and socioeconomic characteristics on annual healthcare costs between 2005 and 2010.
The distribution of Rx-MGs and total costs presented statistically significant differences among gender, age groups, occupation, and income class (p < .001). Nearly 80% of the enrolees were classified as multimorbid and low income earners presented the highest prevalence of multimorbidity. After controlling for age and gender, increases in the number of Rx-MG assignments were associated with higher total healthcare costs. After controlling for the effects of Rx-MG assignment and demographic characteristics, physicians, paramedical personnel, and public servant were found to generate higher total costs than typical employees/self-employed enrolees, while low-income earners generated lower costs. High income levels were also found to be associated with lower total costs. It was also revealed that occupation and multimorbidity have a moderating effect on healthcare cost.
Increases in the prevalence of multimorbidity are associated with higher health care costs. This study determined that instances of multimorbidity varied according to socioeconomic class; likewise there were inequities in healthcare utilization among individuals of various occupations and income levels, even when demographic characteristics and multimorbidity were controlled for. This highlights the importance of socioeconomic status with regard to healthcare utilization. These results indicate that socioeconomic factors should not be discounted when discussing the utilization of healthcare by patients with multimorbidity.
Care giving for children with chronic diseases can lead to financial strain and compromised family well being. Little is known about whether these stresses lead to changes in residential movement patterns as they relate to income adequacy and proximity to care.
We compared the residential movement patterns and associated changes in neighbourhood income of children with mild to severe chronic diseases compared with those that are healthy. A cohort of infants born from 2002–2007 in Ontario, Canada was followed for 5 years and divided into those with single- or multiple- body system complex chronic conditions (CCCs); low birth weight (LBW); asthma/recurrent wheeze (A/RW) and the control group of otherwise healthy children.
Of 598,716 children studied, 15,207 had a single CCC, 3,600 multiple CCCs, 33,206 LBW, 57,137 A/RW and 489,566 were healthy. Lowest income quintile children were most likely to move residence. Compared with healthy controls, chronic disease cohorts, apart from those with asthma, were more likely to be born in the lowest income quintile neighbourhood and to move. Among children who moved, all chronic disease cohorts were significantly more likely to move to a low income quintile neighborhood (adjusted odds ratios for all chronic disease cohorts of 1.1-1.2). There were no differences across cohorts in residential movement close to a children’s hospital.
Young children with chronic conditions, particularly those born in low income neighbourhoods, are more likely to move residence than other healthy young children. However, it does not seem that proximity to specialized care is driving this movement. Further research is required to determine if these movement patterns impact the ability of children with chronic conditions to secure health services.
Movement; Chronic diseases; Complex chronic conditions; Socio-economic; Health; Health services research; Socioeconomic status; Chronic conditions; Geography; Children
Very little is known about socioeconomic related inequalities in multimorbidity, especially in developing countries. Traditionally, studies on health inequalities have mainly focused on a single disease condition or different conditions in isolation. This paper examines socioeconomic inequality in multimorbidity in illness and disability in South Africa between 2005 and 2008.
Data were drawn from the 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 rounds of the nationally representative annual South African General Household Surveys (GHS). Indirectly standardised concentration indices were used to assess socioeconomic inequality. A proxy index of socioeconomic status was constructed, for each year, using a selected set of variables that are available in all the GHS rounds. Multimorbidity in illness and disability were constructed using data on nine illnesses and six disabilities contained in the GHS.
Multimorbidity affects a substantial number of South Africans. Most often, based on the nine illness conditions and six disability conditions considered, multimorbidity in illness and multimorbidity in disability are each found to involve only two conditions. In 2008 in South Africa, the multimorbidity that affected the greatest number of individuals (0.6% of the population) combined high blood pressure (BP) with at least one other illness. The combination of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and other condition or conditions is the least reported (i.e. 0.02% of the population). Between 2005 and 2008, multimorbidity in illness and disability is more prevalent among the poor; in disabilities this is yet more consistent. The concentration index of multiple illnesses in 2005 and 2008 are −0.0009 and −0.0006 respectively. The corresponding values for multiple disabilities are −0.0006 and −0.0006 respectively.
While there is a dearth of information on the socioeconomic distribution of multimorbidity in many developing countries, this paper has shown that its distribution in South Africa indicates that the poor bear a greater burden of multimorbidity. This is more so for disability than for illness. This paper argues that, given the high burden and skewed socioeconomic distribution of multimorbidity, there is a need to design policies to address this situation. Further, there is a need to design surveys that specifically assess multimorbidity.
Multimorbidity; Socioeconomic inequality; South Africa
Gender inequalities exist in work life, but little is known about their presence in relation to factors examined in occupation health settings. The aim of this study was to identify and summarize the working and employment conditions described as determinants of gender inequalities in occupational health in studies related to occupational health published between 1999 and 2010.
A systematic literature review was undertaken of studies available in MEDLINE, EMBASE, Sociological Abstracts, LILACS, EconLit and CINAHL between 1999 and 2010. Epidemiologic studies were selected by applying a set of inclusion criteria to the title, abstract, and complete text. The quality of the studies was also assessed. Selected studies were qualitatively analysed, resulting in a compilation of all differences between women and men in the prevalence of exposure to working and employment conditions and work-related health problems as outcomes.
Most of the 30 studies included were conducted in Europe (n=19) and had a cross-sectional design (n=24). The most common topic analysed was related to the exposure to work-related psychosocial hazards (n=8). Employed women had more job insecurity, lower control, worse contractual working conditions and poorer self-perceived physical and mental health than men did. Conversely, employed men had a higher degree of physically demanding work, lower support, higher levels of effort-reward imbalance, higher job status, were more exposed to noise and worked longer hours than women did.
This systematic review has identified a set of working and employment conditions as determinants of gender inequalities in occupational health from the occupational health literature. These results may be useful to policy makers seeking to reduce gender inequalities in occupational health, and to researchers wishing to analyse these determinants in greater depth.
Gender identity; Occupational health; Socioeconomic factors; Work
The purpose of this article is to investigate whether and to what degree participation in physical activity among adolescents is associated with area economic deprivation in the municipality where they live. In the study we took account of aggregated informal social capital at the municipality level and compositional effects due to spatial concentration of individual variables known to be associated with physical activity. These include informal social participation, participation in other cultural activities, and family affluence.
The study was based on a secondary analysis of data from the Norwegian HUNT study and municipality characteristics from the Norwegian Social Science Data Service ‘Commune Database’ from 2006. The sample consisted of 8114 adolescents whose ages ranged from 13 to 19. The explanatory power of the independent variables on the dependent variable was assessed using a multilevel analysis in which individuals comprised the first level and were nested within the municipality level.
The average level of physical activity was not negatively associated with the level of area economic deprivation when we adjusted for informal social participation at the community level. Adjusting for area economic deprivation, we found that informal social participation at the community level was associated with a higher level of participation in physical activity at p< .01.
For adolescents in a given municipality, informal social participation is more strongly associated with a higher level of physical activity than the degree of area economic deprivation. This finding supports our social capital hypothesis, which states that the amount of social capital is strengthening the individual’s ability to take part in physical activity.
Physical activity; Adolescents; Informal social capital; Area deprivation; The Young-HUNT Study
Black Canadian youth remain disproportionally affected by an array of social and health issues, including sexually transmitted infections. While research exists in support of the involvement of parents as a key means to prevent or modify harmful behaviours among youth, less is known about how parent–child communication can serve as a prevention intervention strategy within Black families in Canada. This study explores sexual health communication between Black parents and youth in Nova Scotia and identifies facilitators, obstacles and issues that families face in dialoguing about sexual health.
Focus groups and in-depth interview sessions were held with a diverse sample of parents of Black youth, health and education professionals, and Black youth in Nova Scotia, as part of a larger study aimed at exploring parent–child communication on sexual health and HIV. The research team worked in partnership with and received feedback from key informants and a community advisory committee throughout the various stages of this study. All sessions were audio-taped with permission and thematic analysis was carried out on the verbatim transcripts.
Six key themes emerged from the data analysis in relation to parent–child communication within Black families in Nova Scotia: 1. the gendered nature of [sexual] health communication; 2. fear and uncertainty as obstacles; 3. open and honest dialogue from an early age as a facilitator; 4. media as both a catalyst and a barrier; 5. peers as a catalyst; and 6. time constraints as an obstacle.
The findings of this study reveal that parent–child communication regarding sexual health promotion within Black families in Nova Scotia remains varied and is heavily affected by a myriad of intersecting determinants of health faced by Black youth and their parents. Health promotion interventions aimed at fostering and supporting parent–child communication on sexual health must simultaneously target both parents and youth and further, such efforts must engage a high level of cultural competency in order to better meet the needs of this population.
Sexual health; Black youth; Parents; Qualitative research; Nova Scotia; Communication
Recent research on health inequalities moves beyond illustrating the importance of psychosocial factors for health to a more in-depth study of the specific psychosocial pathways involved. Social capital is a concept that captures both a buffer function of the social environment on health, as well as potential negative effects arising from social inequality and exclusion. This systematic review assesses the current evidence, and identifies gaps in knowledge, on the associations and interactions between social capital and socioeconomic inequalities in health.
Through this systematic review we identified studies on the interactions between social capital and socioeconomic inequalities in health published before July 2012.
The literature search resulted in 618 studies after removal of duplicates, of which 60 studies were eligible for analysis. Self-reported measures of health were most frequently used, together with different bonding, bridging and linking components of social capital. A large majority, 56 studies, confirmed a correlation between social capital and socioeconomic inequalities in health. Twelve studies reported that social capital might buffer negative health effects of low socioeconomic status and five studies concluded that social capital has a stronger positive effect on health for people with a lower socioeconomic status.
There is evidence for both a buffer effect and a dependency effect of social capital on socioeconomic inequalities in health, although the studies that assess these interactions are limited in number. More evidence is needed, as identified hypotheses have implications for community action and for action on the structural causes of social inequalities.
The aim of publicly-provided health care is generally not only to produce health, but also to decrease variation in health by socio-economic status. The aim of this study is to measure to what extent this goal has been obtained in various European countries and evaluate the determinants of inequalities within countries, as well as cross-country patterns with regard to different cultural, institutional and social settings.
The data utilized in this study provides information on 440,000 individuals in 26 European countries and stem from The European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) collected in 2007. As measures of income-related inequality in health both the relative concentration indices and the absolute concentration indices are calculated. Further, health inequality in each country is decomposed into individual-level determinants and cross-country comparisons are made to shed light on social and institutional determinants.
Income-related health inequality favoring the better-off is observed for all the 26 European countries. In terms of within-country determinants inequality is mainly explained by income, age, education, and activity status. However, the degree of inequality and contribution of each determinant to inequality varies considerably between countries. Aggregate bivariate linear regressions show that there is a positive association between health-income inequality in Europe and public expenditure on education. Furthermore, a negative relationship between health-income inequality and income inequality was found when individual employee cash income was used in the health-concentration measurement. Using that same income measure, health-income inequality was found to be higher in the Nordic countries than in other areas, but this result is sensitive to the income measure chosen.
The findings indicate that institutional determinants partly explain income-related health inequalities across countries. The results are in accordance with previously published theories hypothesizing social mobility as the explanation for differences in health-income inequalities between countries and higher health-income inequality could be a result of lower income inequality.
Concentration index; Decomposition; Health-income inequalities; Health; Income; Net income; Gross income; Europe
Background and objectives
Most studies on health inequalities use average measures, but describing the distribution of health can also provide valuable knowledge. In this paper, we estimate and compare within-group and between-group inequalities in length of life for population groups in Ethiopia in 2000 and 2011.
We used data from the 2011 and 2000 Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey and the Global Burden of Disease study 2010, and the MODMATCH modified logit life table system developed by the World Health Organization to model mortality rates, life expectancy, and length of life for Ethiopian population groups stratified by wealth quintiles, gender and residence. We then estimated and compared within-group and between-group inequality in length of life using the Gini index and absolute length of life inequality.
Length of life inequality has decreased and life expectancy has increased for all population groups between 2000 and 2011. Length of life inequality within wealth quintiles is about three times larger than the between-group inequality of 9 years. Total length of life inequality in Ethiopia was 27.6 years in 2011.
Longevity has increased and the distribution of health in Ethiopia is more equal in 2011 than 2000, with length of life inequality reduced for all population groups. Still there is considerable potential for further improvement. In the Ethiopian context with a poor and highly rural population, inequality in length of life within wealth quintiles is considerably larger than between them. This suggests that other factors than wealth substantially contribute to total health inequality in Ethiopia and that identification and quantification of these factors will be important for identifying proper measures to further reduce length of life inequality.
Ethiopia; Justice; Health inequality; Inequality in length of life; Priority setting; Inequality measurement; Gini
Despite encouraging reductions in global maternal mortality rates, Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 on reducing maternal mortality and achieving universal access to reproductive health remains the most off-track of all MDGs. Furthermore a preoccupation with aggregate coverage statistics masks extensive disparities in health improvements between societal groups. Recent national health indicators for Cambodia highlight impressive improvements, for example, in maternal, infant and child mortality, whilst substantial government commitments have been made since 2000 to address health inequities. It is therefore timely to explore the extent of equity in access to key reproductive and maternal health services in Cambodia and how this has changed over time.
Analysis was conducted on three rounds of Demographic and Health Survey data from 2000, 2005 and 2010. Outcome variables comprised utilisation of six reproductive and maternal health services – antenatal care, skilled birth attendance, facility-based delivery, postnatal care, met need for family planning and abortion by skilled provider. Four equity measures were calculated – equity gaps, equity ratios, concentration curves and concentration indices. Household assets were used to create the social-stratification variable, using principal components analysis.
Coverage levels of all six services improved over the decade. Coverage improvements were greatest amongst wealthier quintiles of the population, although poorer quintiles also increased use of services. Critically, inequity in service use of all services dramatically reduced over time, except for postnatal care where inequity increased slightly. However, in 2010 inequity in service use remained favouring wealthier quintiles, greatest in use of skilled birth attendance and facility-based delivery, though the magnitude of inequity was substantially reduced compared to 2000. Met need for family planning was almost perfectly equitable in 2010.
Cambodia has made impressive improvements in overall coverage of reproductive and maternal health services over the last decade, and also in the distribution of their use across wealth quintiles. A range of pro-poor health financing and supply-side policies as well as non-health factors may have contributed to these achievements. Further research will explore specific schemes qualitatively and quantitatively to assess their impact on equity and service use.
Equity; Access; Utilisation; Reproductive and maternal health services; Cambodia
Many low and middle-income countries rely on out-of-pocket payments to help finance health care. These payments can pose financial hardships for households; valid measurement of this type of economic burden is therefore critical. This study examines the validity of five survey measures of economic burden caused by health care payments.
We analyzed 2002/03 World Health Survey household-level data from four Asia Pacific countries to assess the construct validity of five measures of economic burden due to health care payments: any health expenditure, health expenditure amount, catastrophic health expenditure, indebtedness, and impoverishment. We used generalized linear models to assess the correlations between these measures and other constructs with which they have expected associations, such as health care need, wealth, and risk protection.
Measures of impoverishment and indebtedness most often correlated with health care need, wealth, and risk protection as expected. Having any health expenditure, a large health expenditure, or even a catastrophic health expenditure did not consistently predict degree of economic burden.
Studies that examine economic burden attributable to health care payments should include measures of impoverishment and indebtedness.
Out-of-pocket payment; Economic burden; Valid measurement; World Health Survey
Health insurance is an important mechanism that succors individuals, states and the nation at large. The purpose of this study was to assess individual’s attitude towards health insurance policy and the factors that influence respondents’ decision to renew their health insurance policy when it expires.
This cross sectional study was conducted in the Volta region of Ghana. A total of 300 respondents were randomly sampled and interviewed for the study. Data was collected at the household level and analyzed with STATA software. Descriptive statistics was used to assess the demographic characteristics of the respondents while Logistic regression model was used to assess factors that influence respondents’ decision to take up health insurance policy and renew it.
The study results indicate that 61.1% of respondents are currently being enrolled in the NHIS, 23.9% had not renewed their insurance after enrollment and 15% had never enrolled. Reasons cited for non-renewal of insurance included poor service quality (58%), lack of money (49%) and taste of other sources of care (23%). The gender, marital status, religion and perception of health status of respondents significantly influenced their decision to enroll and remain in NHIS.
NHIS has come to stay with clients testifying to its benefits in keeping them strong and healthy. Efforts therefore must be put in by all stakeholders including the community to educate the individuals on the benefits of health insurance to ensure all have optimal access.
Health insurance; Ghana; Policy renewal; Volta region
Cycling is a major activity for adolescents in Canada and potential differences exist in bicycling-related risk and experience of injury by population subgroup. The overall aim of this study was to inform health equity interventions by profiling stratified analytic methods and identifying potential inequities associated with bicycle-related injury and the use of bicycle helmets among Canadian youth. The two objectives of this study were: (1) To examine national patterns in bicycle ridership and also bicycle helmet use among Canadian youth in a stratified analysis by potentially vulnerable population subgroups, and (2) To examine bicycling-related injury in the same population subgroups of Canadian youth in order to identify possible health inequities.
Data for this study were obtained from the 6th cycle (2009/10) of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study, which is a general health survey that was completed by 26,078 students in grades 6–10 from 436 Canadian schools. Based on survey responses, we determined point prevalence for bicycle ridership, bicycle helmet use and relative risks for bicycling-related injury.
Three quarters of all respondents were bicycle riders (n=19,410). Independent factors associated with bicycle ridership among students include being male, being a younger student, being more affluent, and being a resident of a small town. Among bicycle riders, 43% (95%CI ± 0.6%) reported never wearing and 32% (± 0.6%) inconsistently wearing a helmet. Only 26% (± 0.5%) of students reported always wearing a bicycle helmet. Helmets were less frequently used among older students and there were also important patterns by sex, geographic location and socioeconomic status. Adjusting for all other demographic characteristics, boys reported 2.02-fold increase (95% CI: 1.61 to 1.90) and new immigrants a 1.35-fold increase (95%CI: 1.00 to1.82) in the relative risk of bicycling-related injury in the past 12 months, as compared to girls and students born in Canada. The relative risk of injury did not vary significantly by levels of socioeconomic status.
Troubling disparities exist in bicycle use, bicycle helmet use and bicycling-related injuries across specific population subgroups. Bicycle safety and injury prevention initiatives should be informed by disaggregated analyses and the context of bicycle-related health differences should be further examined.
There is now considerable evidence that racism is a pernicious and enduring social problem with a wide range of detrimental outcomes for individuals, communities and societies. Although indigenous people worldwide are subjected to high levels of racism, there is a paucity of population-based, quantitative data about the factors associated with their reporting of racial discrimination, about the settings in which such discrimination takes place, and about the frequency with which it is experienced. Such information is essential in efforts to reduce both exposure to racism among indigenous people and the harms associated with such exposure.
Weighted data on self-reported racial discrimination from over 7,000 Indigenous Australian adults participating in the 2008–09 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey, a nationally representative survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, were analysed by socioeconomic, demographic and cultural factors.
More than one in four respondents (27%) reported experiencing racial discrimination in the past year. Racial discrimination was most commonly reported in public (41% of those reporting any racial discrimination), legal (40%) and work (30%) settings. Among those reporting any racial discrimination, about 40% experienced this discrimination most or all of the time (as opposed to a little or some of the time) in at least one setting. Reporting of racial discrimination peaked in the 35–44 year age group and then declined. Higher reporting of racial discrimination was associated with removal from family, low trust, unemployment, having a university degree, and indicators of cultural identity and participation. Lower reporting of racial discrimination was associated with home ownership, remote residence and having relatively few Indigenous friends.
These data indicate that racial discrimination is commonly experienced across a wide variety of settings, with public, legal and work settings identified as particularly salient. The observed relationships, while not necessarily causal, help to build a detailed picture of self-reported racial discrimination experienced by Indigenous people in contemporary Australia, providing important evidence to inform anti-racism policy.
Racism; Discrimination; Aboriginal; Indigenous; Australia
Recent UK health policies identified nurses as key contributors to the social justice agenda of reducing health inequalities, on the assumption that all nurses understand and wish to contribute to public health. Following this policy shift, public health content within pre-registration nursing curricula increased. However, public health nurse educators (PHNEs) had various backgrounds, and some had limited formal public health training, or involvement in or understanding of policy required to contribute effectively to it. Their knowledge of this subject, their understanding and interpretation of how it could be taught, was not fully understood.
This research aimed to understand how public health nurse educators’ professional knowledge could be conceptualised and to develop a substantive theory of their knowledge of teaching public health, using a qualitative data analysis approach. Qualitative in-depth semi-structured interviews (n=26) were conducted with eleven university-based PHNEs.
Integrating public health into all aspects of life was seen as central to the knowing and teaching of public health; this was conceptualised as ‘embodying knowledge’. Participants identified the meaning of embodying knowledge for teaching public health as: (a) possessing a wider vision of health; (b) reflecting and learning from experience; and (c) engaging in appropriate pedagogical practices.
The concept of public health can mean different things to different people. The variations of meaning ascribed to public health reflect the various backgrounds from which the public health workforce is drawn. The analysis indicates that PHNEs are embodying knowledge for teaching through critical pedagogy, which involves them engaging in transformative, interpretive and integrative processes to refashion public health concepts; this requires PHNEs who possess a vision of what to teach, know how to teach, and are able to learn from experience. Their vision of public health is influenced by social justice principles in that health inequalities, socioeconomic determinants of health, epidemiology, and policy and politics are seen as essential areas of the public health curriculum. They believe in forms of teaching that achieve social transformation at individual, behavioural and societal levels, while also enabling learners to recognise their capacity to effect change.
Social Justice; Inequalities in Health; Public Health; Embodying Knowledge