258406 Determinants of Health: A Mediational Model of Socioeconomic Status, Neighborhood Safety, and Physical Activity

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 9:18 AM - 9:30 AM

Oanh Meyer, PhD , Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Laura Castro-Schilo, MA , Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA
Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, MD, PhD , Center for Reducing Health Disparities, University of California Davis, School of Medicine, Sacramento, CA
Individuals from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds are more likely to experience negative health outcomes. The link between SES and health may be partially mediated by safety fears since perceptions of neighborhood conditions is linked to certain health outcomes. This study examined how SES is associated with health outcomes via the mediating effects of neighborhood safety concerns and physical activity. Data come from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) using a sample of 44,346 adults. Structural equation models indicated that the associations between SES and health outcomes appear to be partially mediated through concerns of neighborhood safety and physical activity, but differently for certain groups. Neighborhood safety's influence on physical activity was moderated by gender and age: older males with high safety fears reported less physical activity than older males with low safety fears, whereas older women reported similar levels of physical activity regardless of their safety concerns. A one point increase in SES (e.g., high school diploma to college), was associated with feeling more safe in one's neighborhood, but only for young individuals, regardless of gender. The largest effect in the prediction of mental health was age; the largest effects in the prediction of physical health were SES, physical activity, and age. Results of this study provide insights into how SES operates to affect health outcomes by suggesting key mediating variables. Implications from this study suggest that interventions to improve health might benefit from targeting certain demographic populations.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain how concerns regarding safety and physical activity mediate the influence of socioeconomic status on health outcomes.

Keywords: Social Class, Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As a postdoctoral fellow in the NIMH-funded Clinical Services Research Training Program at UCSF, I have strong rigorous training in in health and mental health disparities research, particularly as it relates to underserved and ethnic minority populations. With a strong social psychological background, I am applying structural equation modeling methods to the understanding of determinants of health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.