Jessica Sayles West

Jessica Sayles West
Duke University | DU · Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development

Doctor of Philosophy
I am a medical sociologist studying the health and well-being of people with hearing loss over the life course.

About

22
Publications
1,185
Reads
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98
Citations
Introduction
I am a medical sociologist who specializes in research on hearing loss, aging, and health disparities over the life course. I am currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Duke University Aging Center, where I will leverage population-level data and electronic health record data to investigate racial/ethnic differences in age-related trajectories of hearing loss and access to and utilization of hearing healthcare services.
Additional affiliations
August 2020 - May 2021
Duke University
Position
  • Graduate Team Member
Description
  • Duke University Bass Connections Project Team “Impact of Face Covering on Patient Communication and Health Outcomes”
August 2016 - May 2021
Duke University
Position
  • Research Assistant
June 2014 - August 2014
Columbia University
Position
  • Public Health Practicum
Description
  • Designed a resource guide for hard of hearing people to help them understand successful and unsuccessful strategies as well the benefits and risks of disclosure. The project was undertaken at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Department of Otolaryngology and Harvard Medical School Department of Otolaryngology.
Education
August 2015 - May 2021
Duke University
Field of study
  • Sociology
August 2015 - April 2018
Duke University
Field of study
  • Sociology
September 2013 - May 2015
Columbia University
Field of study
  • Sociomedical Sciences

Publications

Publications (22)
Article
Full-text available
There has been increasing attention to the role of hearing loss as a potentially modifiable risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. However, more nationally-representative studies are needed to understand the co-occurring changes in hearing loss and cognitive function in older adults over time, and how hearing aid use might influ...
Article
Objectives We draw from the life course and stress process frameworks to examine how experiencing disability in early life influences mental health in adulthood. Methods Data come from the Health and Retirement Study Cross-Wave Childhood Health and Family Aggregated Data file (2008-2018, n = 15,289). Childhood disability status is a retrospective...
Article
Full-text available
For decades, life course and stress process scholars have documented that negative, stressful experiences in childhood have consequences for health across the life course. One aspect of the childhood adversity that deserves more research attention is childhood disability. Children with disabilities experience higher levels of psychological distress...
Article
Full-text available
Health varies by U.S. region of residence. Despite regional heterogeneity in the outbreak of COVID-19, regional differences in physical distancing behaviors over time are relatively unknown. This study examines regional variation in physical distancing trends during the COVID-19 pandemic and investigates variation by race and socioeconomic status (...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: Falls are considered a significant public health issue and falls risk increases with age. There are many age-related physiologic changes that occur that increase postural instability and the risk for falls (i.e., age-related sensory declines in vision, vestibular, somatosensation, age-related orthopedic changes, and polypharmacy). Hear...
Article
Full-text available
A growing line of research underscores that sociodemographic factors may contribute to disparities in the impact of COVID-19. Further, stages of disease theory suggests that disparities may grow as the pandemic unfolds and more advantaged areas are better able to apply growing knowledge and mitigation strategies. In this paper, we focus on the role...
Article
Full-text available
Research has made strides in disaggregating health data among racial/ethnic minorities, but less is known about the extent of diversity among Whites. Using logistic regression modeling applied to data on respondents aged 40+ from the 2008 to 2016 American Community Survey, we disaggregated the non-Hispanic White population by ancestry and other rac...
Article
Full-text available
As the population ages, increased prevalence of cognitive and sensory impairments may pose growing public health challenges. Among the nine modifiable risk factors for dementia, the highest percentage (9%) of dementia cases are attributed to hearing impairment. While much research has examined the relationship between hearing impairment and cogniti...
Article
Objectives: Hearing impairment is one of the most common disabilities among older people, and its prevalence will increase as the U.S. population ages. However, little is known about social disparities in onset or transitions into and out of hearing impairment, nor how these transitions impact years of life to be spent impaired. Methods: We inve...
Preprint
Full-text available
Objective To examine regional variation in physical distancing trends over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to investigate inequalities within regions by race and socioeconomic status (SES).Methods Race and SES information from the American Community Survey were matched with location data from mobile device location pings at the Census bloc...
Article
Background To evaluate regional disparities in the influence of diabetes on population health, we examine life expectancies at age 50 between population with diabetes and healthy population and life quality among the population with diabetes among native-born Americans by birth region and current residence. Methods Using data on a cohort of 17 686...
Article
Full-text available
Given that hearing loss currently affects 72.4% of persons over 651 and older individuals tend to be hospitalized when affected by COVID‐19, it is likely that the global COVID‐19 pandemic will impact numerous individuals with hearing loss. Based on these overlapping demographics, we should assume that communication needs will be heightened during t...
Article
Objectives: Disablement is a significant health problem and chronic stressor for older adults and is associated with negative mental health outcomes. Although some research has explored how disability extends beyond individuals to influence the mental health of their support networks, less population-based research has assessed the consequences of...
Article
Immigration is central to our understanding of U.S. racial and ethnic health disparities, yet relatively little is known about the health of white immigrants – a group whose ethnic origins have become increasingly diverse. To the extent that whites are included in social stratification research, they are typically used as the reference category for...
Article
Full-text available
Although functional mobility limitations are associated with increased healthcare needs in later life, little research explores how older adults with varying functional mobility trajectories experience healthcare quality. To this end, we explore the effects of functional mobility trajectories on differences in healthcare treatment satisfaction, per...
Article
Full-text available
As the number of older adults increases, increased prevalence of cognitive and sensory impairments pose growing public health challenges. Research on the relationship between hearing impairment and cognition, however, is minimal and has yielded mixed results, with some studies finding that hearing impairment is associated with cognitive decline, an...
Article
Full-text available
This study contributes to a growing literature that documents the importance of arrival cohort and country of birth for differentiating the health of U.S. immigrants. We use nationally-representative data from nine years of the American Community Survey (2008-2016) to examine if an immigrant health advantage exists among Arab Americans ages 40+ (n=...
Article
Hearing impairment is a growing physical disability affecting older adults and is an important physical health stressor, but few studies have examined it in relation to mental health outcomes and even fewer have considered the role of social support in buffering this relationship. The current study builds on the stress process framework and uses lo...
Article
Objective: Hearing loss is the most common sensory deficit and congenital anomaly, yet the decision-making processes involved in disclosing hearing loss have been little studied. To address this issue, we have explored the phrases that adults with hearing loss use to disclose their hearing loss. Design: Since self-disclosure research has not foc...
Thesis
Full-text available
http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/91845/1/jswest.pdf

Network

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Projects

Projects (7)
Project
The aim of the studies in this project is to contribute to knowledge on the social aspects of COVID-19.
Project
This project includes studies that investigate social disparities in health conditions. The project contributes to research on health disparities by examining how long people will live with/without certain health conditions, how years with that condition varies by sociodemographic groups, and how that condition affects total life expectancy.
Project
Health outcomes disaggregated by broad racial/ethnic categories may mask diversity within subpopulations. Ignoring duration and arrival cohort may mask diverse health outcomes within foreign-born populations.