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For Immediate Release

News from the March 2012 Am Jrl of Public Health

AJPH News Release

 

EMBARGOED UNTIL Jan. 19, 2012, 4 PM (ET)

 

CONTACT:  For copies of articles or full table of contents of issue, call Patricia Warin, 202-777-2511, or e-mail patricia.warin@apha.org.

 

The articles below will be published online Jan. 19, 2012, at 4 p.m. (ET) by the American Journal of Public Health® under “First Look” at http://www.ajph.org/first_look.shmtl, and they are currently scheduled to appear in the March 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, www.apha.org, and is available at www.ajph.org.

 

American Journal of Public Health Highlights:

·         Graduates of foster care experience an increased risk for health concerns

·         Smokers in lower socioeconomic status group experienced less success quitting than counterparts following tobacco dependence treatment

·         Attaining a bachelor’s degree after early adulthood higher education correlates to fewer depressive symptoms and better self-rated health at mid-life  than those without

Graduates of foster care experience an increased risk for health concerns

Adults with a history of childhood foster care experience a higher prevalence of mental and physical health concerns, reports a recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers used 2003-2005 California Health Interview Survey data to find out if adults with a childhood history of foster care reported higher rates of mental and physical health concerns. They found that adults with a history of childhood foster care had more than twice the odds of receiving social security disability insurance because they were unable to work due to mental or physical health problems over the past year, even after separating by age and adjusting for demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.  

The study’s authors said, “Our results suggest that the paucity or lack of critical physical, mental health, and social services during and after foster care may influence adulthood outcomes for graduates of foster care. At the very least, a safety net for young graduates of the foster care system is needed to ensure continued access to Medicaid or other health coverage and support services to promote education and employment and prevent homelessness.”

[From: “Life Course Outcomes on Mental and Physical Health: The Impact of Foster Care on Adulthood.” Contact: Cheryl Zlotnick, RN, DrPH, Children’s Hospital & Research Center, Oakland, Calif.,
czlotnick@mail.cho.org].   


Smokers in lower socioeconomic status group experienced less success quitting than counterparts following tobacco dependence treatment

Socioeconomic status influences smokers’ success rates in abstaining from tobacco use following a community-based treatment program, reports a study published today in the American Journal of Public Health. 

Researchers examined socioeconomic disparities in a community-based tobacco dependence treatment program. Both cognitive-behavioral treatment and nicotine patches were provided to 2,739 smokers. The researchers observed treatment outcomes both three and six months following treatment. They found that the probability of not smoking three months after treatment among study participants was 55 percent greater for the highest socioeconomic status than for the lowest socioeconomic status smokers; it increased to 2.5 times greater for the highest socioeconomic status smokers six months after treatment. They also found that lower-SES participants received less treatment content and had fewer resources and less environmental support to sustain abstinence from smoking.

Researchers advise that efforts should be made to ensure that lower socioeconomic status groups receive more treatment, and that strategies should be geared towards environmental and clinical challenges such as stress levels and exposure to other smokers, as well as accounting for long-term support.  

“These findings suggest that targets for enhancing therapeutic approaches for lower-SES groups should include efforts to ensure that lower-SES groups receive more treatment content, strategies that address the specific clinical and environmental characteristics that affect treatment outcomes for lower-SES smokers, and strategies to manage long-term clinical and environmental challenges presented earlier in the treatment protocol.”

[From: "Socioeconomic Disparities in Community-Based Treatment of Tobacco Dependence." Contact: Christine E. Sheffer, PhD, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Ark., csheffer@med.cuny.edu].    

Attaining a bachelor’s degree after early adulthood correlates to fewer depressive symptoms and better self-rated health at midlife than those without

A new study from the American Journal of Public Health reports that attaining at least a bachelor’s degree after 25 years of age is associated with better midlife health.

Researchers examined whether attaining a higher educational degree after 25 years of age was associated with less depressive symptoms and better self-rated health than not attaining a higher educational degree. They analyzed data from the

National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, a nationally representative sample of individuals who were aged 14 to 21 years in 1979, including a total sample of 7,179 individuals. After stratifying by degrees received, researchers found that among respondents with no degree, a high school diploma, or a post-high school certificate at age 25, attaining at least a bachelor’s degree by midlife was associated with fewer depressive symptoms and better self-rated health at midlife compared with respondents who did not attain a higher degree by midlife. Those with an associate’s degree by age of 25 who later attained a bachelor’s degree or higher, also reported better health at midlife.

The study’s authors said, “Our results, however, suggest that a nontrivial percentage of US individuals attain their highest degree after their mid-20s.” They concluded, “Our study provides preliminary evidence that the timing of education is associated with health and that attaining at least a bachelor’s degree after the mid-20s may result in health benefits for US adults.”

[From: “Effects of Timing and Level of Degree Attained on Depressive Symptoms and Self-Rated Health at Midlife.” Contact: Katrina M. Walsemann, Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.,
kwalsema@sc.edu].               

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