Lisa F. Berkman's research while affiliated with Centre for Health and Population Studies and other places

Publications (473)

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Background Social capital theory conceptualizes accessed status (the socioeconomic status of social contacts) as interpersonal resources that generate positive health returns, while social cost theory suggests that accessed status can harm health due to the sociopsychological costs of generating and maintaining these relationships. Evidence for bot...
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Background: With aging, many people develop Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias (ADRD) as well as chronic physical health problems. The consequent care needs can be complicated, with heavy demands on families, households and communities, especially in resource-constrained settings with limited formal care services. However, research on ADRD ca...
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Background: With aging, many people develop Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias (ADRD) as well as chronic physical health problems. The consequent care needs can be complicated, with heavy demands on families, households and communities, especially in resource-constrained settings with limited formal care services. However, research on ADRD ca...
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In this commentary invited for the 100th anniversary of AJE, we discuss the addition of randomized experiments, along with natural experiments that emulate randomized trials using observational data, as designs in the social epidemiologist’s toolbox. These approaches transform the way we define and ask questions about social exposures. They compel...
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Background Evidence suggests a link between depressive symptoms and risk of subsequent stroke. However, most studies assess depressive symptoms at only one timepoint, with few examining this relationship using repeatedly measured depressive symptoms. This study aimed to examine the relationship between depressive symptom trajectories and risk of in...
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Countries are advancing retirement age as life expectancy advances. But increases in healthy life expectancy are not keeping pace with total life expectancy, lengthening the portion of life spent with disability and threatening the capacity of individuals to work longer. Now, a study forecasts healthy life expectancy for people in England in 2035.
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The misuse of prescription painkillers is a major contributor to the ongoing drug overdose epidemic. This study investigated variability in non-medical use of prescription painkillers (NMUPP) by race and early-life socioeconomic status (SES) in a sample now at increased risk for opioid overdose. Data from two waves of the National Longitudinal Stud...
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Eviction upends children's lives and exacerbates deprivation; it remains largely unexamined as a determinant of cognitive development. We assess whether children evicted in infancy, early childhood, and middle childhood exhibit lower scores on four cognitive assessments (measuring executive function, mathematical reasoning, written language skills,...
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Apolipoprotein E ( APOE ) 𝜀4 allele carrier status is well known for its association with an increased likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease, but its independent role in cognitive function is unclear. APOE genetic variation is understudied in African populations; hence, this cross-sectional study in a rural South African community examined a...
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Perceptions of HIV acquisition risk and prevalence shape sexual behavior in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). We used data from the Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Study of an INDEPTH Community in South Africa baseline survey. Data were collected through home-based interviews of 5059 people ≥ 40 years old. We elicited information on perceived ri...
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Background The relationship between subjective social position (SSP) and cognitive ageing unclear, especially in low-income settings. We aimed to investigate the relationship between SSP and cognitive function over time among older adults in rural South Africa. Methods Data were from 3771 adults aged ≥40 in the population-representative ‘Health an...
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Importance More than 17 million people in the US provide uncompensated care for adults with physical or cognitive limitations. Such caregiving is associated with worse mental and physical health, yet little research has investigated how publicly funded home care might ameliorate these harms. Objective To investigate the association between Medicai...
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Work is a key social determinant of population health and well-being. Yet, efforts to improve worker well-being in the United States are often focused on changing individual health behaviors via employer wellness programs. The COVID-19 health crisis has brought into sharp relief some of the limitations of current approaches, revealing structural co...
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Objectives Multimorbidity is associated with mortality in high-income countries. Our objective was to investigate the relationship between multimorbidity (≥2 of the following chronic medical conditions: hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidaemia, anaemia, HIV, angina, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol dependence) and all-cause mortalit...
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As a social determinant of health, work influences the health and well-being of workers. Interventions to change the conditions of work are an important complement to individually-focused wellness initiatives. This systematic literature review identified organisational- and group-level workplace intervention studies using experimental or quasi-expe...
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Importance Cognitive resilience refers to the general capacity of cognitive processes to be less susceptible to differences in brain structure from age- and disease-related changes. Studies suggest that supportive social networks reduce Alzheimer disease and related disorder (ADRD) risk by enhancing cognitive resilience, but data on specific social...
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Background: Reducing hypertension represents a critical point of intervention to lower the burden of cardiovascular disease worldwide. Although the relationship between lower socioeconomic status and higher rates of hypertension is well documented, most of the evidence comes from prevalence studies involving young adult population. Aim: To inves...
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Background Gender differences in life expectancy and societal roles have implications for a country's capacity to support its older population. Specifically, the longevity risk associated with longer life expectancy of women, with greater risk of morbidity entails different needs between genders in older age. We aimed to quantify gender differences...
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We sought to characterize the relationship between alcohol consumption and sexual risk-taking in an aging population in rural South Africa. A cross-sectional analysis was conducted using baseline data from the Health and Ageing in Africa: a Longitudinal Study of an INDEPTH Community (HAALSI) cohort. We elicited information on sexual risk behavior a...
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Objectives We investigated concordance between haemoglobin A1c (HbA 1 c)-defined diabetes and fasting plasma glucose (FPG)-defined diabetes in a black South African population with a high prevalence of obesity. Design Cross-sectional study. Setting Rural South African population-based cohort. Participants 765 black individuals aged 40–70 years a...
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Objectives: Our study investigates measurement, correlates, and functional associations of vision impairment (VI) in an aging population in rural South Africa. Methods: 1582 participants aged 40–69 reported on near (NVI) and distance vision impairment (DVI) and completed objective vision tests. Logistic and linear regression were used to evaluate s...
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Introduction: Despite rapid population aging, there are currently limited data on the incidence of aging-related cognitive impairment in sub-Saharan Africa. We aimed to determine the incidence of cognitive impairment and its distribution across key demographic, social, and health-related factors among older adults in rural South Africa. Methods:...
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Adverse birth outcomes put children at increased risk of poor future health. They also put families under sudden socioeconomic and psychological strain, which has poorly understood consequences. In this paper, we test whether infants experiencing an adverse birth outcome—low birthweight or prematurity, as well as lengthy hospital stays—are more lik...
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We estimated the incidence of cognitive impairment and its key sociodemographic, social, and health-related predictors at the first longitudinal follow-up of the population-representative “Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Study of an INDEPTH Community in South Africa” (HAALSI) cohort of adults aged ≥40 in rural Agincourt, South Africa. Co...
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Importance It is uncertain whether depressive symptoms are independently associated with subsequent risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Objective To characterize the association between depressive symptoms and CVD incidence across the spectrum of lower mood. Design, Setting, and Participants A pooled analysis of individual-participant data fr...
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Importance It is uncertain whether depressive symptoms are independently associated with subsequent risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Objective To characterize the association between depressive symptoms and CVD incidence across the spectrum of lower mood. Design, Setting, and Participants A pooled analysis of individual-participant data fr...
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We aimed to determine the incidence of cognitive impairment and its key sociodemographic, social, and health‐related predictors at the first longitudinal follow‐up of the population‐representative “Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Study of an INDEPTH Community in South Africa” (HAALSI) cohort in South Africa. Data were from 3,861 adults a...
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Objectives To characterize the extent to which brief cognitive assessments administered in the population-representative US Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and its International Partner Studies can be considered to be measuring a single, unidimensional latent cognitive function construct. Method Cognitive function assessments were administered i...
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Objective: To test the hypothesis that lifecourse patterns of employment, marriage, and childrearing influence later-life rate of memory decline among women, we examined the relationship of work-family experiences between ages 16 and 50 years and memory decline after age 55 years among U.S. women. Methods: Participants were women ages ≥55 years...
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Previous clinical studies have reported adverse cognitive outcomes for people living with HIV (PLWH), but there are no population-based studies comparing cognitive function between older PLWH and comparators without HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. We analyzed baseline data of 40 + years-old participants in "Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Stu...
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Background : The Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression (CES-D) scale is a widely used measure of depressive symptoms, but its construct validity has not been adequately assessed in sub-Saharan Africa. This study validates the CES-D among an aging Shangaan-speaking and predominantly Black African sample in rural South Africa, with a special em...
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Research on early life adversity and later-life cognitive function is conflicting, with little evidence from low-income settings. We investigated associations between adverse childhood experiences and cognitive function in an older population who grew up under racial segregation during South African apartheid. Data were from 1,871 adults aged 40-79...
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Background Several theories seek to explain how social connections and cognitive function are interconnected in older age. These include that social interaction protects against cognitive decline, that cognitive decline leads to shedding of social connections and that cognitive decline leads to increased instrumental support. We investigated how pa...
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Objectives: Among older people living with HIV (PLWH) and comparable individuals without HIV, we evaluated whether associations of HIV and antiretroviral therapy (ART) with disability depend on body mass index (BMI). Methods: We analyzed 4552 participants in the “Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Study of an INDEPTH Community in South Afri...
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Background: While elevations in fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) are both recognized by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) as diagnostic of hyperglycemia, previous comparisons of these tests have demonstrated discordant individual classifications and population estimates. This may be due to additional postprandi...
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Objectives: Direction and magnitude of gender differences in late-life cognitive function are inextricably tied to sociocultural context. Our study evaluates education and literacy in rural South Africa as primary drivers of gender inequality in late-life cognitive function. Method: Data were collected on 1,938 participants aged 40-79 from Aginc...
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Objective: To investigate the relationships between exposure to life-course traumatic events (TEs) and later life mental, physical, and cognitive health outcomes in the older population of a rural South African community. Method: Data were from baseline interviews with 2,473 adults aged ≥40 years in the population-representative Health and Aging in...
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Objectives Despite the recent awareness of the environment impact on brain ageing, the influence of the neighbourhood socioeconomic status on cognitive impairment remains unclear. Here, we investigated the effects of individual and neighbourhood deprivation on cognitive impairment in middle-aged and young-old people. Design Cross-sectional study....
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Introduction Although HIV prevalence is exceptionally high in South Africa, HIV testing rates remain below targeted guidelines. Older adults living with HIV are substantially more likely to remain undiagnosed than younger people. Cognitive function and literacy could play key roles in HIV status knowledge due to the decision‐making processes requir...
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Background: Evidence on cognitive function in older South Africans is limited, with few population-based studies. We aimed to estimate baseline associations between cognitive function and cardiometabolic disease risk factors in rural South Africa. Methods: We use baseline data from "Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Study of an INDEPTH...
Poster
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Background In spite of the recent awareness of environmental characteristic’s impact on brain aging, links between contextual socioeconomic status and cognitive performance (CP) remains unclear. The objective was to investigate the influence of individual and contextual deprivation on cognitive performance in order to better characterize vulnerable...
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Rapid population aging in high absolute poverty settings, such as much of South Africa, demands new research on the social context factors that affect cognitive aging in these settings. We investigated the relationships between subjective social position within one’s village and cognitive function and impairment, with the rationale that psychosocia...
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Background: To help adapt cardiovascular disease risk prediction approaches to low-income and middle-income countries, WHO has convened an effort to develop, evaluate, and illustrate revised risk models. Here, we report the derivation, validation, and illustration of the revised WHO cardiovascular disease risk prediction charts that have been adap...
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Purpose: This study examines the simultaneous roles of neighborhood, school, and peer group contexts on variation in age of U.S. adolescent sexual initiation (coitarche). All three contexts have been shown to be important determinants of adolescent sexual and reproductive health outcomes but are typically examined separately, leaving a large gap i...
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Objectives. To determine whether the 2014 Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion affected well-being in the low-income and general adult US populations. Methods. We obtained data from adults aged 18 to 64 years in the nationally representative Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index from 2010 to 2016 (n = 1 674 953). We used a difference-in-differences a...
Preprint
We investigated how patterns of social engagement and cognitive health in theHAALSI population-based study of over 5000 individuals aged ≥ 40 years in rural South Africafit with three existing theories of how social engagement and cognitive function areinterconnected in older age. We found that respondents with lower cognitive function hadsmaller,...
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An authoritative parenting style is generally associated with healthier body weight in children and adolescents. However, whether the protective effect of an authoritative style on offspring body weight may persist into adulthood has seldom been investigated. In this study we examined the longitudinal association between parenting style and body ma...
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We aimed to estimate the relationship between height (a measure of early-life cumulative net nutrition) and later-life cognitive function among older rural South African adults, and whether education modified this relationship. Data were from baseline in-person interviews with 5059 adults ≥ 40 years in the population-based “Health and Aging in Afri...
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Background Longer schooling is associated with better physical, mental and cognitive functioning, but there is controversy as to whether these associations are causal. We examine the long-term health impact of a policy that increased compulsory schooling by 2 years in France for cohorts born on or after January 1953, offering a natural experiment....
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Background/aims: We aimed to estimate the prevalence of cognitive impairment, and the sociodemographic and comorbid predictors of cognitive function among older, rural South African adults. Methods: Data were from a population-based study of 5,059 adults aged ≥40 years in rural South Africa in 2015. Cognitive impairment was defined as scoring ≤1...
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As the world undergoes rapid ageing, informal support from friends and relatives is becoming especially important among older adults in middle- and low-income countries, where formalised social protections may be limited. We use new data from a cohort of adults aged 40 and older in rural South Africa to explore how receipt of emotional support diff...
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Objectives To investigate the associations between household wealth, household consumption, and chronic disease risk behaviors among older adults in rural South Africa. Methods Data were from baseline assessments of 5059 adults aged ≥ 40 in the population-based “Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Study of an INDEPTH Community in South Afri...
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Less schooling is associated with increased biological risks for chronic disease, but whether increasing years of schooling through policy interventions reduces these risks remains unclear. We examine the effect of a major education reform introduced in 1959 that raised the minimum school leaving age from 14 to 16 years in France, offering a unique...
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Objectives To characterize the cardiovascular disease (CVD) profile of individuals aged 80 and older in rural South Africa. Design First wave of population‐based longitudinal cohort. Setting Agincourt subdistrict (Mpumalanga Province) in rural South Africa. Participants Adults residents (N = 5,059). Measurements In‐person interviews were conduc...
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The notion of constellations is central to many occupational health theories; empirical research is nevertheless dominated by variable-centered methodologies. Guided by the job demands-resources framework, we use a person-centered longitudinal approach to identify constellations of job demands and resources (task-based and time-based) over time tha...
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Objective: To investigate the possible effects of middle and high school racial composition on later reporting of lifetime non-medical use of prescription painkillers (NMUPP) in young adulthood, and to explore whether there is evidence of variability by individual race/ethnicity in such effects. Methods: Using data from Wave 1 (1994/5) of the Na...
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Objectives To examine whether conditions related to scarcity at the left side of the distribution (anaemia, severe chronic energy deficiency, and underweight) are as strongly related to population means as conditions of excess at the right side of the distribution (overweight and obesity). Design Observational study. Setting 65 countries, with na...
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Objective: To describe the role of worksite characteristics, job role, and abortion stigma in clinical abortion workers' occupational stress. Study design: We recruited nurses, medical assistants, and counseling staff who provide abortion care at 5 hospitals and 4 freestanding clinics in Massachusetts. Study instruments assessed individual-level...
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Background Understanding how depression is associated with chronic conditions and socio-demographic characteristics can inform the design and effective targeting of depression screening and care interventions. In this study, we present some of the first evidence from sub-Saharan Africa on the association between depressive symptoms and a range of c...
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Social network analysis depends on how social ties to others are elicited during interviews, a process easily affected by respondent and interviewer behaviors. We investigate how the number of self-reported important social contacts varied within a single data collection round. Our data come from Health and Aging in Africa: a Longitudinal Study of...
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Objectives: Drawing on the "Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Study of an INDEPTH community in South Africa" (HAALSI) baseline survey, we present data on older adults' social networks and receipt of social support in rural South Africa. We examine how age and gender differences in social network characteristics matched with patterns predi...
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Objective: Work and family stressors may be associated with elevated cardiovascular risk factors. Methods: To assess the effects of work-to-family conflict (WTFC) on biomarkers of cardiometabolic risk, we examined 1524 extended care employees over 18 months and estimated multilevel linear models that accounted for the nested nature of the data. Res...
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Study objectives: Sleep disorders and sleep deficiency can increase the risk for cardiovascular disease. Less is known about whether multiple positive attributes of sleep health known as the SATED (satisfaction, alertness, timing, efficiency, and duration) model, can decrease future cardiovascular disease risks. We examined whether and how a varie...
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Objective: Few studies have gone beyond studying marital status to examine effects of marital quality on body weight. This study examined the association of marital quality with weight change and incident obesity in midlife. It differentiated positive and negative components of marital quality considering overall marital quality, marital support,...