Anna Zajacova

Anna Zajacova
The University of Western Ontario | UWO · Department of Sociology

PhD, Sociology and Demography (2006)

About

97
Publications
37,356
Reads
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4,111
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2017 - present
Western University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
August 2014 - December 2016
University of Wyoming
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
January 2010 - July 2014
University of Wyoming
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)

Publications

Publications (97)
Article
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Demographers have consistently documented the importance of educational attainment for population-health. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the relationship between educational attainment and health varies considerably across contexts. This study examines how the education-sleep association varies across U.S. states to glean insights...
Article
Data from the early 2000s indicated worse overall health and larger socioeconomic (SES) health inequalities in the U.S. than in Canada. Yet, sociopolitical contexts, health levels, and SES-health inequalities have changed in both countries during the intervening two decades. Drawing on new data, we update the comparison of health levels and SES-hea...
Article
Previous literature on race/ethnicity and pain has rarely included all major US racial groups or examined the sensitivity of findings to different pain operationalizations. Using data from the 2010 to 2018 National Health Interview Surveys on adults 18 years or older (N = 273,972), we calculated the weighted prevalence of 6 definitions of pain to p...
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There is wide variation in population-level pain prevalence estimates in studies of survey data around the world. The role of country-level social, economic, and political contextual factors in explaining this variation has not been adequately examined. We estimated the prevalence of unspecified pain in adults aged 25+ years across 52 countries usi...
Preprint
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Our understanding of population pain epidemiology is largely based on national-level analyses. This focus, however, neglects potential cross-national, and especially sub-national, geographic variations in pain, even though geographic comparisons could shed new light on factors that drive or protect against pain. This article presents the first comp...
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Recent trends in U.S. health have been mixed, with improvements among some groups and geographic areas alongside declines among others. Medical sociologists have contributed to the understanding of those disparate trends, although important questions remain. In this article, we review trends since the 1980s in key indicators of U.S. health and weig...
Preprint
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Previous literature on race/ethnicity and pain has rarely included all major U.S. racial groups or examined the sensitivity of findings to different pain operationalizations. Using data from the 2010-2018 National Health Interview Surveys on adults 18+ (N=273,972), we calculate the weighted prevalence of six definitions of pain to provide a detaile...
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Chronic pain is a common, costly, and consequential health problem. However, despite some important analytic contributions, sociological research on pain has not yet coalesced into a unified subfield. We present three interrelated bodies of evidence and illustrative new empirical findings using 2010 to 2018 National Health Interview Survey data to...
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Race-based and other demographic information on COVID-19 patients is not being collected consistently across provinces in Canada. Therefore, whether the burden of COVID-19 is falling disproportionately on the shoulders of particular demographic groups is relatively unknown. In this article, we first provide an overview of the available geographic a...
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The COVID-19 pandemic has required the adoption of precautionary health behaviours to reduce the risk of infection. This study examines adherence, as well as changes in adherence, to four key precautionary behaviours among Canadian adults: wearing face masks, social distancing, hand washing, and avoiding large crowds. Data are drawn from Series 3 a...
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Determining long-term trends in chronic pain prevalence is critical for evaluating and shaping U.S. health policies, but little research has examined such trends. This study (1) provides estimates of pain trends among U.S. adults across major population groups; (2) tests whether sociodemographic disparities in pain have widened or narrowed over tim...
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Objectives. To estimate total life expectancy (TLE), disability-free life expectancy (DFLE), and disabled life expectancy (DLE) by US state for women and men aged 25 to 89 years and examine the cross-state patterns. Methods. We used data from the 2013–2017 American Community Survey and the 2017 US Mortality Database to calculate state-specific TLE,...
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Two-thirds of Canadian adults have post-secondary credentials, ranging from trade certificates to bach­elor’s and advanced degrees. Yet, little is known about health across these levels, partly because the ex­tensive literature on the education–health gradient has often grouped all post-secondary credentials into one or two broad categories. This i...
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Population-health research has neglected differentiation within postsecondary educational attainments. This gap is critical to understanding health inequality because college experience with no degree, vocational/technical certificates, and associate degrees may affect health differently. We examine health across detailed postsecondary attainment l...
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Background: The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the psychological wellbeing of populations worldwide. In this study, we assess changes in mental health during the early months of the pandemic in Canada and examine its relationship with another prominent problem during this time, economic concerns. Methods: Analyses were based on two cycles of the nation...
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Objectives The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly disrupted daily life in Canada. This study assesses changes in health behaviours during the early stages of the pandemic and examines socio-demographic disparities associated with these changes. Methods We analyze data on adults age 25 and older (N = 4383) from the public-use Canadian Perspectives...
Preprint
Background The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the psychological wellbeing of populations worldwide. In this study, we assess changes in mental health during the early months of the pandemic in Canada and examine its relationship with another prominent problem during this time, economic concerns. Methods Analyses were based on two nationally representat...
Preprint
Determining long-term trends in chronic pain prevalence is critical for evaluating and shaping US health policies, but little research has examined such trends. This study (1) provides estimates of pain trends among US adults across major population groups; (2) tests whether sociodemographic disparities in pain have widened or narrowed over time; a...
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Policy Points • Changes in US state policies since the 1970s, particularly after 2010, have played an important role in the stagnation and recent decline in US life expectancy. • Some US state policies appear to be key levers for improving life expectancy, such as policies on tobacco, labor, immigration, civil rights, and the environment. • US lif...
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Whereas African Americans are disproportionately among the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic’s sick and dead, less is known about whether some racial/ethnic groups are more likely to be affected in Canada. In this data visualization, the authors address two issues limiting understanding of the spatial and demographic distribution of the...
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Recent unprecedented increases in mortality and morbidity during midlife are often ascribed to rising despair in the US population. An alternative and less often examined explanation is that these trends reflect, at least in part, the lagged effects of the obesity epidemic. Adults in midlife today are more likely to live with obesity and have a gre...
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Objectives: We examine recent trends in pain prevalence among adults aged 50+ across Europe. Methods: Data for 15 countries from the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe are examined for two periods: 2004–2011 and 2013–2015. Trends are shown descriptively, using a multilevel modeling strategy controlling for covariates, and modeled on...
Article
Pain is a major health problem among US adults. Surprisingly little, however, is known about educational disparities in pain, especially among the nonelderly. In this study, we analyze disparities in pain across levels of educational attainment. Using data from the 2010-2017 National Health Interview Survey among adults aged 30-49 (N=74,051), we es...
Preprint
The Canadian government has no plans to release data on the race or socioeconomic status of COVID-19 patients. Therefore, whether COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting certain sociodemographic groups in Canada is unknown. We fill this data void by merging publicly available COVID-19 data with tabular census data to identify risk factors renderin...
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Demographic risk factors for multimorbidity (living with 2+ chronic conditions) have been identified in numerous population-based studies of older adults; however, there is less data on younger populations, despite the fact that approximately 24% of US adults age 18+ have multimorbidity. To examine the associations of education and race/ethnicity w...
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Married individuals are healthier and live longer than those who are never married, divorced, or widowed. But not all marriages are equal: unhappy marriages provide fewer benefits than happy ones. This study examined health and longevity across a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults, combining measures of marital status and marital happi...
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Despite numerous studies on educational disparities in U.S. adult health, explanations for the disparities and their growth over time remain incomplete. We argue that this knowledge gap partly reflects an individualist paradigm in U.S. studies of educational disparities in health. These studies have largely focused on proximal explanations (e.g., i...
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Adult mortality varies greatly by educational attainment. Explanations have focused on actions and choices made by individuals, neglecting contextual factors such as economic and policy environments. This study takes an important step toward explaining educational disparities in U.S. adult mortality and their growth since the mid-1980s by examining...
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Objectives Disability is a major concern for the health of midlife and older Canadians. Understanding disability trends is critical for detecting socio-economic and health precursors that could be amenable to policy interventions. The purpose of this study is to assess trends in rates of disability among Canadian adults age 40–64 and 65+. We also e...
Article
Several recent studies have documented an alarming upward trend in disability and functional limitations among US adults. In this study, we draw on the sociomedical Disablement Process framework to produce up-to-date estimates of the trends and identify key social and medical precursors of the trends. Using data on US adults aged 45-64 in the 2002-...
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Adults with higher educational attainment live healthier and longer lives compared with their less educated peers. The disparities are large and widening. We posit that understanding the educational and macrolevel contexts in which this association occurs is key to reducing health disparities and improving population health. In this article, we bri...
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Objectives: Assess trends in pain prevalence from 1992 to 2014 among older U.S. adults and by major population subgroups, and test whether the trends can be explained by changes in population composition. Methods: Health and Retirement Study data include information on any pain, pain intensity, and limitations in usual activities due to pain. Av...
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Using a latent variable modeling approach to discrete time survival analysis, the dynamics of the relationships of depression and body mass index to mortality are examined with data from the multiwave, nationally representative Health and Retirement Study. A set of medical and demographic variables are employed as time-invariant covariates along wi...
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This article is concerned with a latent variable modeling approach to discrete time survival analysis that includes both time-invariant and time-varying covariates. The approach is illustrated with data from the Health and Retirement Study, which are utilized to study further the relationship of depression to stroke in middle and late life. Employi...
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Despite the widespread use of self-rated health (SRH) in population health studies, the meaning of this holistic health judgment remains an open question. Gender differences in health, an issue of utmost importance in population research and policy, are often measured with SRH; the comparisons could be biased if men and women differ in how they for...
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Objectives: To examine how disparities in adult disability by educational attainment vary across US states. Methods: We used the nationally representative data of more than 6 million adults aged 45 to 89 years in the 2010-2014 American Community Survey. We defined disability as difficulty with activities of daily living. We categorized education...
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Analysis and modeling of time to event data have been traditionally associated with nonparametric, semiparametric, or parametric statistical frameworks. Recent advances in latent variable modeling have additionally provided unique analytic opportunities to methodologists and substantive researchers interested in survival time modeling. As a consequ...
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Background: Demographic risk factors for multimorbidity have been identified in numerous population-based studies of older adults; however, there is less data on younger populations, despite the fact that approximately 24% of US adults age 18+ have multimorbidity. Understanding multimorbidity earlier in the life course is critical because of the in...
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Functional limitations and disability declined in the US during the 1980s and 1990s, but reports of early 21st century trends are mixed. Whether educational inequalities in functioning increased or decreased is also poorly understood. Given the importance of disability for productivity, independent living, and health care costs, these trends are cr...
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Inequalities in women's mortality between U.S. states are large and growing. It is unknown whether they reflect differences between states in their population characteristics, contextual characteristics, or both. This study systematically examines the large inequalities in women's mortality between U.S. states using a multilevel approach. It focuse...
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Researchers have extensively documented a strong and consistent education gradient for mortality, with more highly educated individuals living longer than those with less education. This study contributes to our understanding of the education–mortality relationship by determining the effects of years of education and degree attainment on mortality,...
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This Short Communication builds on recent findings that documented an anomaly in the education-health gradient: adults who attended college but did not earn a BA (the subbaccalaureate group) reported an equal or higher level of health problems than adults with high school (HS) diploma. Our aim is to test whether this anomaly holds when we eliminate...
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Self-rated health (SRH) is widely used to capture racial and ethnic disparities in health. It is therefore critical to understand whether individuals with different racial and ethnic backgrounds assess their SRH differently. Despite the high overall predictive validity of SRH for subsequent mortality, few studies paid attention to potential variati...
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Objectives: We study changes in average disability over nearly two decades for a large epidemiological cohort of older Americans. As some people exit by mortality, do average disability levels for the living cohort rise rapidly, rise gradually, stay steady, or decline? Method: Data are from the Study of Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest O...
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The general educational development (GED) diploma is intended to be equivalent to a high school (HS) credential; however, recent evidence finds that GED recipients have worse health than HS graduates. This study aims to explain the health disadvantage, focusing on three domains: noncognitive skills, health behaviors, and economic factors. We analyz...
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Background: Cancer presents a substantial hardship for patients and their families in multiple domains beyond health and survival. Relatively little is known about the economic impact of cancer. The authors present estimates of the aggregate effects of a cancer diagnosis on employment and income in a prospective, nationally representative sample o...
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The high predictive validity of self-rated health (SRH) is a major strength of this widely used population health measure. Recent studies, however, noted that the predictive validity varies across population subgroups. The aim of this study is to examine respondents' age as a moderator of SRH predictive validity with respect to subsequent mortality...
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This project contributes to the emerging research that aims to identify distinct body mass index (BMI) trajectory types in the population. We identify clusters of long-term BMI curves among older adults and determine how the clusters differ with respect to initial health. Health and Retirement Study cohort (N = 9,893) with BMI information collected...
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There is a critical need for telehealth language screening measures for use with Spanish-speaking children because of the shortage of bilingual providers and the current lack of psychometrically sound measures that can be administered via telehealth. The purpose of the current study was to describe the classification accuracy of individual teleheal...
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Previous research has shown that men have higher levels of hypertension and lower levels of hypertension awareness than women, but it remains unclear if these differences emerge among young adults. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), this study examines gender differences in hypertension and hypertensio...
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SUMMARY A 'black box' paradigm has prevailed in which researchers have focused on the association between the total number of pathogens for which individuals are seropositive (i.e. total pathogen burden) and various chronic diseases, while largely ignoring the role that seropositivity for specific combinations of pathogens may play in the aetiology...
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We appreciate Dowd and Hamoudi's comments regarding our editorial. Their commentary reflects the critical thinking and productive dialogue that we had hoped to generate. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print November 13, 2014: e1. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302339).
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Several recent studies report that life expectancy has declined (or that mortality rates have increased) among low-educated women in recent decades.(1-7) For instance, between 1990 and 2000, life expectancy at age 25 years declined by nearly one year among White women with zero to 12 years of education while it increased by one year among White wom...
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Background Americans are becoming obese earlier in their lives, increasing the average exposure to obesity. Nonetheless, the impact of long-term obesity on later life functioning is not well known.Methods We analyzed data from 7,258 adults aged 60-79 from the U.S. 1999-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Respondents were...
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Background People worldwide are becoming obese at earlier ages, increasing exposure to long-term obesity. Purpose To examine how BMI at age 25 years predicts later obesity and test the importance of long-term obesity beyond obesity severity for adult cardiovascular, inflammatory, and metabolic risk. Methods Data from adults aged 35–64 years from...
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Policy debates about raising the full retirement age often neglect socioeconomic health disparities among U.S. workers. In response to this gap, we analyzed educational differentials in health among middle-age and older adults and translated the findings into age equivalents.Method.We used the nationally representative 1997-2010 National Health Int...
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A growing body of research has established the effect of early health on later-life health. This study extends the literature by (1) examining multiple dimensions of mid-adulthood health including physical and mental conditions, (2) analyzing attained status (education and income) as a potential pathway through which health problems in adolescence...
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Objective Many social policies and academic studies assume that education is “the great equalizer” that is capable of counteracting the unequal social resources of different demographic groups. This study aims to determine whether non-Hispanic whites and racial/ethnic minorities indeed experience comparable health benefits with greater educational...
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Objectives: Millions of U.S. adults are recipients of the high school equivalency (GED) diploma. Virtually nothing is known about the health of this large group, although literature suggests GED recipients are considerably worse off than high school graduates in numerous economic and social outcomes. We analyze general health among working-age adu...
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The gradual changes in cohort composition that occur as a result of selective mortality processes are of interest to all aging research. We present the first illustration of changes in the distribution of specific cohort characteristics that arise purely as a result of selective mortality. We use data on health, wealth, education, and other covaria...
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Over the past half century the gap in mortality across education levels has grown in the United States, and since the mid-1980s, the growth has been especially pronounced among white women. The reasons for the growth among white women are unclear. The authors investigated three explanations-social-psychological factors, economic circumstances, and...
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Purpose of the study: The aim of this study was to investigate heterogeneity in body weight trajectories among older adults and their association with mortality risks. Design and methods: Information on body mass index (BMI) and survival come from nine waves of the Health and Retirement Study, a 16-year survey of adults aged 51-61 at baseline (N...
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Objectives: To elucidate why the inverse association between education level and mortality risk (the gradient) has increased markedly among White women since the mid-1980s, we identified causes of death for which the gradient increased. Methods: We used data from the 1986 to 2006 National Health Interview Survey Linked Mortality File on non-Hisp...
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An interval estimation procedure for proportion of explained observed variance in latent curve analysis is discussed, which can be used as an aid in the process of choosing between linear and nonlinear models. The method allows obtaining confidence intervals for the R 2 indexes associated with repeatedly followed measures in longitudinal studies. I...
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While the relationship between education and general health has been firmly established in the literature, surprisingly little research has analyzed individual components of the global health judgments, such as chronic conditions or pain. We present a systematic account of the health gradient for multiple health outcomes by detailed educational cat...
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We compared health outcomes for adults with the General Equivalency Diploma (GED) and regular high school diploma to determine whether GED recipients are equivalent to regular graduates despite research that documents their disadvantages in other outcomes. We used 1997 to 2009 National Health Interview Survey cross-sectional data on high school dro...
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This article presents detailed estimates of relative and absolute health inequalities among U.S. working-age adults by educational attainment, including six postsecondary schooling levels. We also estimate the impact of several sets of mediating variables on the education-health gradient. Data from the 1997-2009 National Health Interview Survey (N...