Highlights from the American Journal of Public Health: December 2012 Issue



Highlights from the American Journal of Public Health:
December 2012 issue


AJPH News Release

EMBARGOED UNTIL October 18, 2012, 4 PM (EDT)

CONTACT:  For copies of articles or full table of contents of issue, call Kim Short, 202-777-2511, or email her 

The articles below will be published online October 18, 2012, at 4 p.m. (EDT) by the American Journal of Public Health® under “First Look,” and they are currently scheduled to appear in the December 2012 print issue of the Journal. “First Look” articles have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue. The American Journal of Public Health is published by the American Public Health Association.

American Journal of Public Health Highlights:

1) Positive parental interactions and involvement may help lessen the odds of a child becoming a bully

2) Repeated job strain is a risk factor for depression

3) Social marketing, connectedness, may bolster positive health outcomes in walking programs among African American communities

1) Positive parental interactions and involvement may help lessen the odds of a child becoming a bully

Parent-child communication and involvement may be key protective factors to help lessen bullying in the United States, finds a new study published today in the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers used the 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health to examine associations among child, parent and community factors and bullying perpetration among children aged 10 to 17 years. This included a study sample of 44,848 adolescents. The researchers discovered that the prevalence of bullying was 14.9 percent among children aged 10 to 17 years.

According to the study, African American and Latino children and children living in poverty and who had emotional, developmental or behavioral problems had higher odds of bullying. Children of parents who felt angry with their child or who felt their child was difficult to care for or bothered them often were associated with higher odds of bullying. Suboptimal maternal mental health was associated with higher bullying odds as well. Compared with non-bullies, bullies were less likely to always or usually complete all their homework. Children with parents who met their child’s friends as well as talked to their children and encouraged them academically had significantly lower odds of bullying.

“This study included the largest US sample, to our knowledge, to be analyzed for sociodemographic, child, family, and community-level risk and protective factors for bullying perpetration,” the study’s authors commented.  

“The findings suggest that parents’ perception of anger with their child, that their child bothers them a lot, and that their child is harder to care for than other children and suboptimal maternal mental health are associated with higher odds of child bullying perpetration, whereas high parental involvement and communication with children are associated with lower odds of bullying perpetration,” stated the study’s authors.

“Evaluations of school-based programs that engage parents have suggested that parental involvement may be an essential component of effective interventions but that it is often difficult to implement,” the study’s authors concluded.

[From: “Parental Characteristics Associated With Bullying Perpetration in US Children Aged 10 to 17 Years.” Contact: Rashmi Shetgiri, MD, Division of General Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas].  

2) Repeated job strain is a risk factor for depression

Repeated job strain and low work social support may put employees at a greater risk of developing major depressive disorder, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers set out to determine whether repeated job strain and low work social support increase the risk of major depressive disorder. Over the course of 10 years, they measured job strain and social support on three occasions in a cohort of 7,732 British civil servants. There was a higher prevalence of major depressive disorder in women, younger participants, middle employment grades, those getting insufficient physical activity and those reporting longstanding illness. Women reported job strain 31.9 percent at one phase, 16.5 percent at two phases and 14.8 percent at three phases, whereas in men this pattern was 29.2 percent, 14.9 percent and 9.8 percent, respectively. Researchers found that repeated job strain was associated with increased risk of major depressive disorder. In addition, repeated low work social support was associated with major depressive disorder.

“These findings fit with an exposure time effect model where the longer the exposure to job strain, the higher the incidence of depression. Underlying this hypothesis is the assumption that accumulation of job strain in terms of both time exposed and intensity of job strain increases the risk of depression,” stated the study’s authors.

“Recognition and alleviation of job strain through work reorganization and staff training could reduce depression in employees,” the study’s authors suggest.  

Repeated Job Strain and the Risk of Depression: Longitudinal Analyses from the Whitehall II Study.” Contact: Stephen A. Stansfeld, University of London].   

3) Social marketing, connectedness, may bolster effectiveness of walking programs among African American communities

Formative process evaluation demonstrated that walking programs were effectively implemented and that social marketing increased walking and perceived social connectedness in African American communities, reports a new study featured in the December issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

In the Positive Action for Today’s Health (PATH) trial, researchers developed a community-based intervention to address access and safety barriers to neighborhood walking in underserved African American communities, with one program including an additional social marketing component to increase social connectedness and motivation for walking. Data were collected from baseline to 12 months. Monthly walkers increased to 424 in the walking-plus-social marketing program, indicating expanding program reach, in contrast to no increase in the walking-only program. Additionally, increased reach was correlated with peer-led Pride Strides, a key social marketing component, and program social interaction was the primary reason for which walkers reported participating. Walkers in the walking-plus-social marketing program reported positive perceptions of access, safety, social connectedness and motivation components 87 percent to 100 percent of the time. Social interaction was the number one reason for participating in regular group walks, followed by health reasons, and then feeling safe on the trail.

“Targeting social connectedness may have positively affected community resources such as social capital and collective efficacy, which have been linked to increased community capacity and positive health behaviors and outcomes,” the study’s authors explain.

“This study is one of the first to report the use of formative process evaluation methods in an intervention that targeted underserved African American communities and incorporated an innovative social marketing approach. Similar evaluation methods may ensure quality implementation in future studies,” note the study’s authors.

[From: “Formative Process Evaluation for Implementing a Social Marketing Intervention to Increase Walking Among African Americans in the Positive Action for Today’s Health Trial.” Contact: Dawn K. Wilson, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.].  

The American Journal of Public Health is the monthly journal of the American Public Health Association® (APHA), the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. APHA is a leading publisher of books and periodicals promoting sound scientific standards, action programs and public policy to enhance health. 

Complimentary online access to the Journal is available to credentialed members of the media.  Address inquiries to Kimberly Short at APHA, 202-777-2511, or via email. A single print issue of the Journal is available for $35 from the Journal’s Subscriptions department. If you are not a member of the press, a member of APHA or a subscriber, online single issue access is $22 and online single article access is $20 at www.ajph.org/. Order or renew a subscription online, or for direct customer service, call 202-777-2516, or email us


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