The study, "Loosening the Link Between Childhood Poverty and Adolescent Smoking and Obesity : The Protective Effects of Social Capital" published in the January 2011 edition of the peer-reviewed journal Psychological Science, found that poor adolescents who live in communities with more social cohesiveness are less likely to smoke and be obese.
Gary W. Evans, a professor in Cornell's College of Human Ecology, began recruiting participants in rural upstate New York in the late 1990s, when they were 8 to 10 years old. About half of the participants grew up poor and the rest were from middle-income families. As part of a long-term examination of children growing up poor in rural upstate New York, Evans and Rachel Kutcher, a Human Ecology honors undergraduate, checked in on the participants periodically to measure their health and exposure to various risk factors.
For this analysis, when people in the study were about 17 years old, the subjects and their mothers were asked to fill out surveys about "social capital," a measure of how connected a community is and how much social control there is. For example, mothers were asked to say much they agreed that "one of my neighbors would do something if they saw someone trying to sell drugs to a child or youth in plain sight," and the teenagers were asked whether they had adults whom they could ask for advice. The teens also completed surveys on behavior, including smoking, and had their height and weight measured.
"Youth from low-income backgrounds smoked more than those who grew up in more affluent homes," the study concludes. "However, if they resided in communities with high social capital, the effects of early childhood poverty on adolescent smoking were minimal."
Evans found similar results when measuring body-mass index, a standard measure of obesity, for those in the group.
"You may be able to loosen those connections between early childhood poverty and negative health outcomes if you live in a community with good social resources," Evans said.
Evans and Kutcher believe adolescents in communities with more social capital may have better role models or mentors; or perhaps in a more empowered community, where people feel comfortable stopping someone else's bad behavior, the young people feel less helpless as individuals. They might believe that "you have some control over what's going to happen to you," they suggested.
Still, the authors warned, social capital can help poor youths, but it is not a remedy for the health problems associated with impoverished living in childhood. Poor adolescents, even those in communities with more social capital, are still less healthy than their middle-income peers.
"It's not correct to conclude that, if you just improve social capital, then it would be OK to be poor," Evans said.
The work was funded by the W.T. Grant Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Network on Socioeconomics Status and Health.
John Carberry | EurekAlert!
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences
29.05.2017 | Life Sciences
29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy