The health related quality of life of the employees in the Greek hospitals: assessing how healthy are the health workers.
BACKGROUND: The main aim of the study was to assess the health status and health related quality of life of the personnel of the Hellenic Network of Health Promotion Hospitals. The instrument used was SF-36. An additional aim was to contribute to the validation of the SF-36. METHODS: The study instrument was administered to 347 randomly selected employees from seven hospitals within major Athens area. Completed questionnaire were obtained by 292 employees. The statistical significance of the observed differences was tested with parametric (t-test and ANOVA) and non-parametric tests (Mann-Whitney and Kruskall-Wallis). Also, since the Greek national norms have not been published yet, the mean scores on all eight SF-36 dimensions of this study were compared with the U.S and several European national norms just to assess the extent to what there are significant differences between a Greek healthy population and the general populations of several other countries. RESULTS: Medical doctors and technical personnel (mostly engineers) reported better health status than nurses and administrative and auxiliary personnel; women reported poorer health status than men on all eight SF-36 dimensions; younger employees reported poorer health status than their older counterpartners. Moreover the mean scores on all SF-36 dimensions reported by the participants on this study were considerably lower than the U.S and many European national norms. Also the study results constitute an indication of the SF-36 construct validity. CONCLUSION: The findings of this study show that there are major and intense health inequalities among the employees in Greek hospitals. (+info)
Socioeconomic differences in the burden of disease in Sweden.
OBJECTIVE: We sought to analyse how much of the total burden of disease in Sweden, measured in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), is a result of inequalities in health between socioeconomic groups. We also sought to determine how this unequal burden is distributed across different disease groups and socioeconomic groups. METHODS: Our analysis used data from the Swedish Burden of Disease Study. We studied all Swedish men and women in three age groups (15-44, 45-64, 65-84) and five major socioeconomic groups. The 18 disease and injury groups that contributed to 65% of the total burden of disease were analysed using attributable fractions and the slope index of inequality and the relative index of inequality. FINDINGS: About 30% of the burden of disease among women and 37% of the burden among men is a differential burden resulting from socioeconomic inequalities in health. A large part of this unequally distributed burden falls on unskilled manual workers. The largest contributors to inequalities in health for women are ischaemic heart disease, depression and neurosis, and stroke. For men, the largest contributors are ischaemic heart disease, alcohol addiction and self-inflicted injuries. CONCLUSION: This is the first study to use socioeconomic differences, measured by socioeconomic position, to assess the burden of disease using DALYs. We found that in Sweden one-third of the burden of the diseases we studied is unequally distributed. Studies of socioeconomic inequalities in the burden of disease that take both mortality and morbidity into account can help policy-makers understand the magnitude of inequalities in health for different disease groups. (+info)
Asthma patient education opportunities in predominantly minority urban communities.
Disenfranchised ethnic minority communities in the urban United States experience a high burden of asthma. Conventional office-based patient education often is insufficient to promote proper asthma management and coping practices responsive to minority patients' environments. This paper explores existing and alternative asthma information and education sources in three urban minority communities in western New York State to help design other practical educational interventions. Four focus groups (n = 59) and four town hall meetings (n = 109) were conducted in one Hispanic and two black communities. Focus groups included adult asthmatics or caretakers of asthmatics, and town meetings were open to all residents. A critical theory perspective informed the study. Asthma information and education sources, perceptions of asthma and ways of coping were elicited through semi-structured interviews. Data analysis followed a theory-driven immersion-crystallization approach. Several asthma education and information resources from the health care system, media, public institutions and communities were identified. Intervention recommendations highlighted asthma workshops that recognize participants as teachers and learners, offer social support, promote advocacy, are culturally appropriate and community-based and include health care professionals. Community-based, group health education couched on people's experiences and societal conditions offers unique opportunities for patient asthma care empowerment in minority urban communities. (+info)
Socioeconomic risk, parenting during the preschool years and child health age 6 years.
BACKGROUND: Parent child relationships and parenting processes are emerging as potential life course determinants of health. Parenting is socially patterned and could be one of the factors responsible for the negative effects of social inequalities on health, both in childhood and adulthood. This study tests the hypothesis that some of the effect of socioeconomic risk on health in mid childhood is transmitted via early parenting. METHODS: Prospective cohort study in 10 USA communities involving 1041 mother/child pairs, selected at birth at random with conditional sampling. EXPOSURES: income, maternal education, maternal age, lone parenthood, ethnic status and objective assessments of mother child interaction in the first 4 years of life covering warmth, negativity and positive control. OUTCOMES: mother's report of child's health in general at 6 years. Modelling: multiple regression analyses with statistical testing of mediational processes. RESULTS: All five indicators of socioeconomic status (SES) were correlated with all three measures of parenting, such that low SES was associated with poor parenting. Among the measures of parenting maternal warmth was independently predictive of future health, and among the socioeconomic variables maternal education, partner presence and 'other ethnic group' proved predictive. Measures of parenting significantly mediated the impact of measures of SES on child health. CONCLUSIONS: Parenting mediates some, but not all of the detectable effects of socioeconomic risk on health in childhood. As part of a package of measures that address other determinants, interventions to support parenting are likely to make a useful contribution to reducing childhood inequalities in health. (+info)
Inequality in the health status of workers in small-scale enterprises.
BACKGROUND: Small-scale enterprises (SSEs) usually share poorer resources for promoting occupational health. AIM: To investigate inequality of health status among SSEs in Japan. METHOD: A cross-sectional, multiple-centred study was carried out using the periodical health check-up data for the fiscal year 2000 to compare the age-adjusted proportions of workers with hypertension (HT), hyperlipidaemia, impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and obesity and of current smokers by size of enterprise, i.e. or=1000 employees in Japan. RESULTS: From five leading occupational health organizations, data were collected for 9833 enterprises with a total of 436 729 subjects, 302 383 males and 134 346 females. The proportions of workers in SSEs with or=50 male employees. The prevalence of smokers in SSEs with or=50 male employees. These proportions showed a significantly increasing tendency with decreasing size of male workforce. CONCLUSION: Despite the cross-sectional design and only adjusting age as a potential confounder, higher proportions of HT, IGT, obesity and smoking in male workers were found in SSEs compared to larger organizations. (+info)
Possible socioeconomic and ethnic disparities in quality of life in a cohort of breast cancer survivors.
BACKGROUND: This paper describes the ethnic and socioeconomic correlates of functioning in a cohort of long-term nonrecurring breast cancer survivors. METHODS: Participants (n = 804) in this study were women from the Health, Eating, Activity, and Lifestyle (HEAL) Study, a population-based, multicenter, multiethnic, prospective study of women newly diagnosed with in situ or Stages I to IIIA breast cancer. Measurements occurred at three timepoints following diagnosis. Outcomes included standardized measures of functioning (MOS SF-36). RESULTS: Overall, these long-term survivors reported values on two physical function subscales of the SF-36 slightly lower than population norms. Black women reported statistically significantly lower physical functioning (PF) scores (P = 0.01), compared with White and Hispanic women, but higher mental health (MH) scores (P < 0.01) compared with White and Hispanic women. In the final adjusted model, race was significantly related to PF, with Black participants and participants in the "Other" ethnic category reporting poorer functioning compared to the White referent group (P < 0.01, 0.05). Not working outside the home, being retired or disabled and being unemployed (on leave, looking for work) were associated with poorer PF compared to currently working (both P < 0.01). CONCLUSION: These data indicate that race/ethnicity influences psychosocial functioning in breast cancer survivors and can be used to identify need for targeted interventions to improve functioning. (+info)
Health inequalities with the National Statistics-Socioeconomic classification: disease risk factors and health in the 1958 British birth cohort.
BACKGROUND: Health inequalities using the new National Statistics socioeconomic classification (NS-SEC) have so far been assessed using only general measures of health, with little known about inequality for specific health outcomes. Preliminary analyses show that self-employed workers, distinguished for the first time by NS-SEC, show increased mortality risk in the last 5 years of working life. We examined health inequalities for multiple disease risk factors and health outcomes, with particular reference to cardiorespiratory risk in the self-employed. METHODS: 8952 participants in the 1958 British birth cohort with information on adult occupation and disease risk factors at 45 years. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure, body mass index, glycosylated haemoglobin, total and high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, fibrinogen, C-reactive protein, tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA), von Willebrand factor, total immunoglobulin E (IgE), one-second forced expiratory volume, 4 kHz hearing threshold, visual impairment, depressive symptoms, anxiety, chronic widespread pain and self-rated health were measured. RESULTS: Routine workers had poorer health than professional workers for most outcomes examined, except HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, t-PA and IgE in men; total cholesterol and IgE in women. Patterns of inequality varied depending on the outcome but rarely showed linear trend across the classes. Relative to professionals, own account workers (self-employed) did not show consistently increased levels of cardiorespiratory risk markers. CONCLUSIONS: Health inequalities are seen with NS-SEC across diverse outcomes for men and women. In mid-life, self-employed workers do not have an adverse cardiorespiratory risk profile. (+info)
Race and risk of schizophrenia in a US birth cohort: another example of health disparity?
BACKGROUND: Immigrant groups in Western Europe have markedly increased rates of schizophrenia. The highest rates are found in ethnic groups that are predominantly black. Separating minority race/ethnicity from immigration in Western Europe is difficult; in the US, these issues can be examined separately. Here we compared rates of schizophrenia between whites and African Americans and evaluated whether the association was mediated by socioeconomic status (SES) of family of origin in a US birth cohort. METHODS: Study subjects were offspring of women enrolled during pregnancy at Alameda County Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Plan clinics (1959-66) in the Child Health and Development Study. For schizophrenia spectrum disorders, 12 094 of the 19 044 live births were followed over 1981-97. The analysis is restricted to cohort members whose mothers identified as African American or white at intake. Stratified proportional hazards regression was the method of analysis; the robustness of findings to missing data bias was assessed using multiple imputation. RESULTS: African Americans were about 3-fold more likely than whites to be diagnosed with schizophrenia [Rate Ratio (RR) = 3.27; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.71-6.27]. After adjusting for indicators of family SES at birth, the RR was about 2-fold (RR = 1.92; 95% CI: 0.86-4.28). Using multiple imputation in the model including family SES indicators, the RR for race and schizophrenia was strengthened in comparison with the estimate obtained without imputation. CONCLUSION: The data indicate substantially elevated rates of schizophrenia among African Americans in comparison with whites in this birth cohort. The association may have been partly but not wholly mediated by an effect of race on family SES. (+info)