Research Items (25)
- Jul 2019
- Darwin's Roadmap to the Curriculum
Health-related research is broad, diverse, and fragmented theoretically, methodologically, and across disciplines. The understanding and improvement of human health would be accelerated by establishing a universal and deep framework integrating varied undertakings. This framework is evolutionary theory, the most powerful explanatory system in the life sciences and the only framework that can unify knowledge in otherwise disparate fields of human research. Darwinian medicine has already made considerable progress in the practical understanding of human physiology and other areas informing medical care. Within evolutionary theory, life history theory in particular holds the promise of promoting understanding of variation in behavioral patterns related to health and why they vary consistent with environmental conditions. This chapter describes the current state of research exemplifying an evolutionary approach to health-related psychology and behavior and outlines directions for future research and intervention efforts.
An evidence-based approach is needed to shape policies and practices regarding medical cannabis, thereby reducing harm and maximizing benefits to individuals and society. This project assesses attitudes towards and utilization of medical cannabis and the mainstream healthcare system among medical cannabis users. The research team administered brief hard copy surveys to 450 adults attending an annual public event advocating for cannabis law reform. Among usable responses (N = 392), the majority (78%) reported using cannabis to help treat a medical or health condition. Medical cannabis users reported a greater degree of use of medical cannabis and a greater degree of trust in medical cannabis compared to mainstream healthcare. In comparison to pharmaceutical drugs, medical cannabis users rated cannabis better on effectiveness, side effects, safety, addictiveness, availability, and cost. Due to the medical use of cannabis, 42% stopped taking a pharmaceutical drug and 38% used less of a pharmaceutical drug. A substantial proportion (30%) reported that their mainstream healthcare provider did not know that they used medical cannabis. Other issues identified included lack of access to mainstream healthcare, self-initiated treatment of health issues, little knowledge of psychoactive content, and heavy cannabis use.
- Oct 2018
Largely facilitated by technological convergence, television binge watching is a newer media phenomenon. The current exploratory study recruited a random sample of college students (18–25 years old; N = 406) from a university in the western United States. Using a Uses and Gratifications framework, qualitative methods were implemented to better understand how college students conceptualize binge watching, their motivations for engaging in binge watching, and any potential perceived consequences. College students’ definitions of binge watching included the key components of quantity of time, consecutive viewing, and number of episodes. The college context was perceived to facilitate the practice of binge watching. Participants perceived that binge watching could have adverse physical and mental health consequences. In the social realm, some participants indicated that binge watching was a social activity and could lead to making new friends, but some cautioned that binge watching could be socially isolating.
Open educational resources (OERs) are materials that are available freely to students and faculty. While the concept of OERs was created about 10 years ago, the field of public health and health education has not widely adopted these materials. This article discusses the positive benefits of OERs to students and faculty, along with some of the potential challenges faced by adopting OERs. Ultimately, OERs could prove to be a solution to ensuring up-to-date information reaches students, faculty, and practitioners in the field and offer textbooks at a reasonable cost for students.
Objective: With medical and recreational marijuana legislation expanding throughout the country, the need to educate high-risk populations is evident. The purpose of this study was to assess college students' perceptions of health communication messages comparing primary and secondary prevention messages concerning marijuana. Participants: Participants (n = 487) included college students, ages 18-25, enrolled in a Midwestern University. Methods: Participants assessed messages based on likeability, creativity, believability, persuasiveness, relevance, and usefulness using an online questionnaire that also included open-end comments. Results: Rasch analyses indicate that nonmarijuana users rated primary prevention messages higher than secondary prevention messages, whereas marijuana users ranked secondary prevention messages more favorably than primary prevention messages. Conclusion: Interventions designed to address marijuana use among college students may be more effective if tailored toward user status. Specifically, primary prevention materials should be designed for abstainers, while secondary prevention messages that focus on harm reduction strategies should be used with marijuana users.
- Apr 2018
Compared to women, men have a greater tendency to make conspicuous wealth displays and typically make greater contributions in non-somatic provisioning. Male resource displays often predict future paternal resource investments; however, some conspicuous displays may function as mating effort at the cost of investment potential. Men who tend to make such displays may have less interest in long-term relationship investment and commitment and greater interest in short-term sexual relationships. Undergraduates read descriptions of two men purchasing automobiles with the same budget. One man purchased a new car for the sake of reliability (frugal investment); the other purchased a used car and allocated the remaining funds to conspicuous display features (new paint, larger wheels, louder sound system). Participants rated each character on life history characteristics, relationship interests, and relationship attractiveness. Participants rated the man who invested in flashy display higher on mating effort, lower on parental investment, higher on interest in brief sexual affairs, lower on interest in long-term committed romantic relationships, higher in attractiveness to women for brief sexual affairs, and lower in attractiveness to women for long-term committed romantic relationships, compared to the man with a frugal investment strategy. Participants demonstrated an intuitive understanding that some male conspicuous displays can indicate faster life history strategies. Human male luxury displays associated with high mating effort life histories may mimic the properties of male secondary sexual characteristics across species, and these displays may be more prevalent in environments fostering faster life histories.
- Dec 2017
Background: The many consequences related to alcohol consumption among college students are well documented. Drunkorexia, a relatively new term and area of research, is characterized by skipping meals to reduce caloric intake and/or exercising excessively in attempt to compensate for calories associated with high volume drinking. Objective: The objective of this study was to use the Elaboration Likelihood Model to compare the impact of central and peripheral prevention messages on alcohol consumption and drunkorexic behavior. Methods: Researchers employed a quasi-experimental design, collecting pre- or post-test data from 172 college students living in residence halls at a large Midwestern university, to assess the impact of the prevention messages. Participants in the treatment groups received the message in person (flyer), through email, and via a text message in weekly increments. Results: Results showed that participants exposed to the peripherally framed message decreased the frequency of their alcohol consumption over a 30-day period (p =.003), the number of drinks they consumed the last time they drank (p =.029), the frequency they had more than five drinks over a 30-day period (p =.019), as well as the maximum number of drinks they had on any occasion in the past 30 days (p =.014). Conclusions/Importance: While more research is needed in this area, the findings from this study indicate that researchers and practitioners should design peripheral (short and succinct), rather than central (complex and detailed), messages to prevent drunkorexia and its associated behaviors.
- Jul 2017
Sedentary behavior can increase risk of chronic disease. Online streaming of television (TV) has increased in popularity, yet may increase a sedentary lifestyle among young adults. This study investigated self-reported demographic characteristics and obesogenic behaviors among college students who reported binge watching TV and those who did not. Five hundred young adults were randomly-sampled from a western public university in the United States in October 2015. Participants reported demographic information, health related details, and whether they binge watched TV weekly, monthly, or not at all through an online survey. Almost one-quarter of participant reported binge TV watching weekly and 72% did so monthly. Females had higher odds of binge TV watching (weekly and monthly) than males. Participants who reported eating out weekly had higher odds of weekly TV binge watching. Participants who were upperclassmen and did not consume fruit daily had higher odds of monthly TV binge watching. No relationship between self-reported Body Mass Index and TV binge watching was identified. TV binge watching is an understudied area that warrants more health research attention. These results identify the importance of reducing sedentary time activities among young adults, including binge TV watching, in order to prevent chronic disease in the future.
Life History Theory is a powerful framework that can help promote understanding of variation in health-related behavioral patterns and why they vary consistent with environmental conditions. An organism's life history reflects tradeoffs made in the allocation of effort towards specific aspects of survival and reproduction across the lifespan. This study examines the relationship between psychological indicators of life history strategy and health related behaviors in a demographically representative sample in the Midwestern USA. Slower life histories predicted higher levels of health promoting behaviors and lower levels of health adverse behaviors, even when controlling for relevant socio-demographic factors. The analyses provide a strong test of the hypothesized relationship between life history and health behavior indicators, as life history variation co-varies with these socio-demographic factors. Traditional public health efforts may be reaching their limits of effectiveness in encouraging health-promoting behaviors. Integrating an evolutionary framework may revitalize behavioral health promotion efforts. © 2016, Faculty of Arts and Sciences in Rijeka. All rights reserved.
Objective: To identify barriers to children’s access to dental care. Basic research design: A cross-sectional health survey. Setting: All residential census tracts in Genesee County, Michigan, USA. Participants: 498 adults who reported having children in their households, extracted from 2,932 randomly selected adult participants in the 2009 and 2011 surveys. Main measures: Stepwise logistic regression was used to predict two dependent variables: children’s lack of any visits to dentists’ offices and unmet dental care needs (defined as needing dental care but not receiving it due to cost) in the previous year as reported by the adults. Independent variables included gender, age, education, race/ethnicity, financial planning, financial distress, fear of crime, stress, depressive symptoms, experiences of discrimination, and neighbourhood social capital. Results: Of the 498 adults, 29.9% reported that they had children who had not visited a dentist in the past 12 months and 13% reported that they had household children with unmet dental care needs in the past year. Adults who reported higher depressive symptoms, lower neighbourhood social capital, greater financial distress, and who were younger were more likely to have household children who did not visit a dentist in the past year. Financial distress was the only significant predictor when controlling for other variables to predict unmet dental care needs. Conclusions: Factors beyond financial distress affect children’s dental care; these include parental depressive symptoms and lower neighbourhood social capital. Interventions promoting parental mental health and social integration may increase dental care among children.
- Nov 2015
- American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting
- American Public Health Association Annual Meeting & Exposition
Experiential learning is an important contributor to higher education. Incorporating experiential learning into a program of study helps provide a new avenue for the application of theory to practice. These activities are often in the form of volunteer services, which help students translate classroom learning into real-world solutions, address community needs, help students serve their neighbors, facilitate campus–community collaboration, and connect students with local organizations. This article describes an assessment of educationally relevant experiences at a student-run free health clinic. The majority of students believed that their clinic experiences fit well into their academic curriculum and schedule. They considered this a positive and worthwhile endeavor, both because of their own personal gain in knowledge, skills, and experiences and because of the direct benefit to the local community. Overall, the students’ experiences were very positive and were consistent with achieving the clinic’s and the university’s goals.
Background: Published research suggests that women with psychiatric disorders are less likely to receive mammograms and participate in traditional mammography screening programs. However, there is a lack of evidence for best practices to increase breast cancer screenings in this population. Objective: To evaluate whether a pathways-style client navigation intervention is more effective than the usual case management services provided at a community mental health center. Methods: The study was a mixed-methods, quasi-experimental, pre/post design. The intervention consisted of a personalized “pathways style” client navigation approach provided by certified community health workers. Intervention activities included risk reduction education and guided referrals to breast cancer screenings and needed follow up services. The comparison group received the usual and customary case management approach. Results: A total of 1,418 women over the age of 40 years were identified as potential participants. The vast majority of clients (98%) were insured; most being covered by Medicaid. Over one third (38%) of potential participants were racial/ethnic minorities. A total of 100 women were recruited for each arm of the study. The following outcome variables will be assessed in both groups: behavioral intentions, attitudes, readiness to change, perceived barriers, self-efficacy, and actual screenings. Personal interviews will also be used to evaluate the efficacy of and satisfaction with the services. Data analysis will be completed June 2014. Conclusion: This will be the first study to assess a pathways-style system to increase breast cancer screening among women with mental health diagnoses.
Introduction: According to the CDC, nearly 1 in 5 adults in the United States – about 45.7 million Americans—have some type of mental illness. This priority population tends to have no/little sense of future planning, therefore lacking the ability to foresee chronic exposure to substances. Evidence showed they are twice as likely to smoke cigarettes than people without a mental illness. Approximately 200,000 people who have a mental illness die every year from illnesses caused by cigarette smoking. However, studies about their smoking cessation are very limited. This study aimed to bridge this gap by identifying a key psychosocial construct for intervention. Methods: A systemic literature review was conducted to explore the relationship between Self-Efficacy and smoking cessation along with the reduction in smoking relapse during a quit attempt. Among the 10 articles reviewed, four examined this priority population. A summary table was created to compare the effects of self-efficacy to smoking cessation. Results: Self-efficacy has an influence on the initiation of a quit smoking attempt and reducing relapse during a quit attempt. Evidence showed when people with a mental illness have high self-efficacy towards quitting they are more likely to quit smoking, have more quit attempts, and are less likely to have a relapse in smoking compared to someone with lower self-efficacy. Discussion: Strong evidence showed that utilizing self-efficacy in quit smoking programs can further decrease smoking rates among people with mental disorders. Future intervention programs are suggested to incorporate self-efficacy to quit smoking in the design.
- Oct 2012
- 140st APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition 2012
Issues: Approximately 26.4 % of the population of Flint, Michigan lives poverty. The clinic is located in a predominantly African-American, low-income neighborhood, which enables high accessibility to individuals who may have significant barriers to health services. Description: PT HEART (Physical Therapy Health Education and Rehabilitation Treatments) is a student-run free clinic that uses a combination of physical therapy and health education services to facilitate behavior change and enhance the quality of life. This clinic is an innovative model and provides a unique opportunity for health education and physical therapy students to learn effective synergistic interactions with patients. Students are responsible for developing innovative ways to helping patients overcome barriers to healthy lifestyles indirectly impacting health disparities. Research supports the use of bio-psycho-social models to treat the whole person. This model is the foundation of our clinic's emphasis on patient education and empowerment. Lessons Learned: Needs assessment data and exit surveys have identified health education needs for the population (diabetes, sexual health, and nutrition education; physical activity and mental health). Patients have had a positive response to one on one health education. Recommendations: Due to our overwhelming positive response we recommend that more student-run free clinics use an interdisciplinary approach to combat the health needs of medically underserved urban populations. Other disciplines such as social work and nursing should be involved in this collaboration. There should be more advocacy for providing health education services in patient treatment.