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  1. Does Social Participation Predict Better Health? A Longitudinal Study in Rural Malawi

    Research on the relationship between social capital and individual health often suffers from important limitations. Most research relies on cross-sectional data, which precludes identifying whether participation predicts health and/or vice versa. Some important conceptualizations of social capital, like social participation, have seldom been examined. Little is known about participation and health in sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, both physical and mental health have seldom been tested together, and variation by age has rarely been examined.

  2. Education, Health, and the Default American Lifestyle

    Education has a large and increasing impact on health in America. This paper examines one reason why. Education gives individuals the ability to override the default American lifestyle. The default lifestyle has three elements: displacing human energy with mechanical energy, displacing household food production with industrial food production, and displacing health maintenance with medical dependency. Too little physical activity and too much food produce imperceptibly accumulating pathologies.

  3. The Contribution of Smoking to Educational Gradients in U.S. Life Expectancy

    Researchers have documented widening educational gradients in mortality in the United States since the 1970s. While smoking has been proposed as a key explanation for this trend, no prior study has quantified the contribution of smoking to increasing education gaps in longevity.

  4. Educational Inequalities in Health Behaviors at Midlife: Is There a Role for Early-life Cognition?

    Education is a fundamental cause of social inequalities in health because it influences the distribution of resources, including money, knowledge, power, prestige, and beneficial social connections, that can be used in situ to influence health. Recent studies have highlighted early-life cognition as commonly indicating the propensity for educational attainment and determining health and age of mortality. Health behaviors provide a plausible mechanism linking both education and cognition to later-life health and mortality.

  5. Marital Status, Relationship Distress, and Self-rated Health: What Role for "Sleep Problems"?

    This paper analyzes data from a nationally representative survey of adults in the United Kingdom (Understanding Society, N = 37,253) to explore the marital status/health nexus (using categories that include a measure of relationship distress) and to assess the role that sleep problems play as a potential mediator. Findings indicate how it is not just the "form" marital status takes but also the absence or presence of relationship distress that is essential to self-rated health.

  6. Marriage, Relationship Quality, and Sleep among U.S. Older Adults

    Sleep is a restorative behavior essential for health. Poor sleep has been linked to adverse health outcomes among older adults; however, we know little about the social processes that affect sleep. Using innovative actigraphy data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (N = 727), we considered the role of marriage, positive marital relationship support, and negative marital relationship strain on older adults’ (ages 62–90) self-reported and actigraph-measured sleep characteristics.

  7. Professionalism Redundant, Reshaped, or Reinvigorated? Realizing the "Third Logic" in Contemporary Health Care

    Recent decades have seen the influence of the professions decline. Lately, commentators have suggested a revived role for a "new" professionalism in ensuring and enhancing high-quality health care in systems dominated by market and managerial logics. The form this new professionalism might take, however, remains obscure. This article uses data from an ethnographic study of three English health care improvement projects to analyze the place, potential, and limitations of professionalism as a means of engaging clinicians in efforts to improve service quality.

  8. The Effect of Medical Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) on Foster Care Caseloads: Evidence from Danish Registry Data

    Since the early 2000s, foster care caseloads have decreased in many wealthy democracies, yet the causes of these declines remain, for the most part, a mystery. This article uses administrative data on all Danish municipalities (N = 277) and a 10% randomly drawn sample of all Danish children (N = 157,938) in the period from 1998 to 2010 to show that increasing medical treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) accounts for a substantial share of the decrease in foster care caseloads.

  9. In Sickness and in Health? Physical Illness as a Risk Factor for Marital Dissolution in Later Life

    The health consequences of marital dissolution are well known, but little work has examined the impact of health on the risk of marital dissolution. We use a sample of 2,701 marriages from the Health and Retirement Study to examine the role of serious physical illness onset in subsequent marital dissolution via either divorce or widowhood. We use a series of discrete time event history models with competing risks to estimate the impact of husband’s and wife’s physical illness onset on risk of divorce and widowhood.

  10. Why and How Inequality Matters

    In this article, I share some thoughts about how we might extend the study of mental health inequalities by drawing from key insights in sociology and sociological social psychology about the nature of inequality and the processes through which it is produced, maintained, and resisted. I suggest several questions from sociological research on stratification that could help us understand unexpected patterns of mental health inequalities.