Navigation Links
Cornell researchers find a strong community protects adolescents from risky health behavior
Date:2/3/2011

ITHACA, N.Y. Growing up poor increases a person's likelihood of health problems as an adult, but a new study led by a Cornell University environmental psychologist shows that being raised in a tight-knit community can help offset this disadvantage of poverty.

The study, "Loosening the Link Between Childhood Poverty and Adolescent Smoking and Obesity : The Protective Effects of Social Capital" published in the January 2011 edition of the peer-reviewed journal Psychological Science, found that poor adolescents who live in communities with more social cohesiveness are less likely to smoke and be obese.

Gary W. Evans, a professor in Cornell's College of Human Ecology, began recruiting participants in rural upstate New York in the late 1990s, when they were 8 to 10 years old. About half of the participants grew up poor and the rest were from middle-income families. As part of a long-term examination of children growing up poor in rural upstate New York, Evans and Rachel Kutcher, a Human Ecology honors undergraduate, checked in on the participants periodically to measure their health and exposure to various risk factors.

For this analysis, when people in the study were about 17 years old, the subjects and their mothers were asked to fill out surveys about "social capital," a measure of how connected a community is and how much social control there is. For example, mothers were asked to say much they agreed that "one of my neighbors would do something if they saw someone trying to sell drugs to a child or youth in plain sight," and the teenagers were asked whether they had adults whom they could ask for advice. The teens also completed surveys on behavior, including smoking, and had their height and weight measured.

"Youth from low-income backgrounds smoked more than those who grew up in more affluent homes," the study concludes. "However, if they resided in communities with high social capital, the effects of early childhood poverty on adolescent smoking were minimal."

Evans found similar results when measuring body-mass index, a standard measure of obesity, for those in the group.

"You may be able to loosen those connections between early childhood poverty and negative health outcomes if you live in a community with good social resources," Evans said.

Evans and Kutcher believe adolescents in communities with more social capital may have better role models or mentors; or perhaps in a more empowered community, where people feel comfortable stopping someone else's bad behavior, the young people feel less helpless as individuals. They might believe that "you have some control over what's going to happen to you," they suggested.

Still, the authors warned, social capital can help poor youths, but it is not a remedy for the health problems associated with impoverished living in childhood. Poor adolescents, even those in communities with more social capital, are still less healthy than their middle-income peers.

"It's not correct to conclude that, if you just improve social capital, then it would be OK to be poor," Evans said.


'/>"/>

Contact: John Carberry
jjc338@cornell.edu
607-255-5353
Cornell University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Cornell Dots that light up cancer cells go into clinical trials
2. Gates Foundation continues funding of tuberculosis research at Weill Cornell
3. Cornells regional sun grant energy conference is May 24-26
4. Cornell forges licensing agreement with new New York apple industry group
5. Weill Cornell researchers find that a single gene is responsible for OCD-like behaviors in mice
6. Weill Cornell science briefs: November 2009
7. Battling cancer with engineering: NCI funds new $13 million cancer research center led by Cornell
8. Genetic secrets of date palm unlocked by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar
9. NIST-Cornell team builds worlds first nanofluidic device with complex 3-D surfaces
10. First new C. difficile drug in a generation superior to existing treatments: Researchers
11. Researchers test inhalable measles vaccine
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/14/2016)... April 14, 2016 BioCatch ... Detection, today announced the appointment of Eyal Goldwerger ... role. Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes at a ... of the deployment of its platform at several of ... technology, which discerns unique cognitive and physiological factors, is ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... BOCA RATON, Florida , March 31, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... LEGX ) ("LegacyXChange" or the "Company") ... presentation for potential users of its soon to be ... The video ( https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyTLBzmZogV1y2D6bDkBX5g ) will also ... by the use of DNA technology to an industry ...
(Date:3/29/2016)... RATON, Florida , March 29, 2016 ... or the "Company") LegacyXChange "LEGX" and SelectaDNA/CSI Protect are ... DNA in ink used in a variety of writing ... theft. Buyers of originally created collectibles from athletes on ... through forensic analysis of the DNA. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2016 , ... ... manufacturing company, today announced several positive developments that position the Company for the ... result of the transaction, Craig F. Kinghorn has been appointed Chairman of the ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... Michael Fitzmaurice recently became double board-certified in surgery and surgery of the hand ... Dr. Fitzmaurice is no stranger to going above and beyond in his pursuit ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding ... has granted the company’s orphan drug designation request covering BHV-4157 for the treatment ... by the FDA. , Spinocerebellar ataxia is a rare, debilitating neurodegenerative disorder ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... ... need for blood donations in South Texas and across the nation is growing. , But ... blood donations are on the decline. In fact, donations across the country are at their ... Texas in the last four years alone. , There is no substitute for blood. , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: