Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Low Socioeconomic Status Means Worse Health – But Not for Everyone

22.03.2012
Poverty is bad for your health. Poor people are much more likely to have heart disease, stroke, and cancer than wealthy people, and have a lower life expectancy, too. Children who grow up poor are more likely to have health problems as adults.
But despite these depressing statistics, many children who grow up poor have good health. In a new article published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, Edith Chen and Gregory E. Miller of the University of British Columbia suggest a possible reason: some children have role models who teach them to cope with stress.

“Who are these bright spots who, despite a lot of adversity, make it through and do well?” Chen asked. She suspects the answer has to do with stress. Growing up poor can be stressful, and stress increases the risk of developing chronic diseases. Poor children are less likely to have a predictable routine and a stable home; their parents may have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet and may not be able to afford to fix a leaky roof, for example. Poor children are also more likely to experience violence. One study found that nearly 50% of low income youth had witnessed a murder.

In the face of this stress, Miller and Chen propose a strategy that may work to reduce stress and improve health. They call it “shift-and-persist.” The first part, “shift,” means reappraising things that are stressful. For example, if you get fired from a job, you can feel miserable and lash out at people around you—or you can reassess the situation to find the bright side. “You think, ‘I wouldn’t choose this, but maybe it’s an opportunity to end up in a better job down the line,’” Chen says. Research on children growing up in adversity has found that children do well if they can self-regulate like this.

But it’s not enough to accept stressful situations. The second part, “persist,” has to do with staying positive in the longer term—“holding out hope and finding a broader meaning in your life,” Chen says. Shifting perspective on a particular situation helps in the short term, but, she says, “You have to do that with the idea that there’s a broader goal in mind.” Many studies have found that finding meaning helps people get through difficult situations, like spinal injuries or collective traumatic experiences like the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The way most children learn “shift-and-persist” may be through positive role models, Chen says. Parents, teachers, aunts, and other adults can model healthy ways of dealing with stress and also teach children a sense of optimism about the world.

The goal, of course, is to extend this help to other children. There are some hints that it may be possible to use community leaders to improve health, Chen says. “For example, in kids with asthma, if you get people in the community to serve as lay coaches for the parents, that can be beneficial to the kids,” she says. It may also be possible to use role models in the community to teach more children to reappraise their stress and think positively about the future.

For more information about this study, please contact: Edith Chen at echen@psych.ubc.ca

Lucy Hyde | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psychologicalscience.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>