Special Issue "Disparities in Health-Risk Behaviors and Health"

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Celia C. Lo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Department of Sociology, Texas Woman’s University, 304 Administration Dr, Denton, TX 76204, USA
2. PERSEREC, Peraton, Seaside, CA 93955, USA
Interests: alcohol and drugs; mental health; disparities in health-risk behaviors and health; health and illness; deviance and crime; victimization
Dr. William Ash-Houchen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Social Science, Delta State University, 1003 W Sunflower Rd, Cleveland, MS 38733, USA
Interests: substance use and misuse; health and health risk; victimization and victimization-related offending; race, gender, sexualities, and crime
Prof. Dr. Tyrone C. Cheng
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Social Work, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, USA
Interests: access to health services; welfare policies; intimate partner violence; substance use and misuse; mental health and child welfare

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Because they have become ingrained in our society and societies worldwide, disparities in health-risk behaviors and health require far-reaching investigation, supporting greater uniformity across groups. The deep-seated nature of discrimination, stigmatization, and marginalization in our social structure means that the human rights and health of too many individuals suffer while social injustice and inequity persist. Health and illness are linked to social structure by the lack of health information and access and health-risk behaviors such as use of tobacco, alcohol, and other substances; lack of adequate physical exercise; obesity. The aftereffects of health risk behavior are also found in the perpetration of violent and other criminal behaviors.

Since it emerged a year ago, the global COVID-19 pandemic has affected lives worldwide and lent further urgency to the challenge of eradicating health disparities. Structural disadvantages, such as those related to race or ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, or specific health conditions, such as immunodeficiency or immunocompromised status, also create disadvantages in terms of severe illness from COVID-19. Relatively higher rates of confirmed infections and deaths have been observed among disadvantaged world citizens. Health disparities, such as this (along with disparities in health-behaviors), have racism at their core. As the global social movement Black Lives Matter illustrated in the second half of 2020, racism operates both on its own and intersectionally with other social statuses to create disparities in health-risk behaviors and health. These two global events, pandemic and BLM, have brought relief—quite glaringly—to institutionalized inequity and systemic discrimination characteristic of global public health systems. 

This Special Issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health plans to assemble papers identifying and discussing (1) social determinants of disparities in health-risk behaviors and health, (2) social mechanisms responsible for these persistent disparities, and (3) policies and practices recommended for reducing disparities. Submissions of research articles touching on the causes, dynamics, and consequences of disparities are enthusiastically invited. Use of qualitative, quantitative, and/or mixed methods in submitted research is welcome. 

Prof. Dr. Celia C. Lo
Dr. William Ash-Houchen
Prof. Dr. Tyrone C. Cheng
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • disparities
  • health-risk behaviors
  • health/mental health
  • social structure
  • public health
  • acute and chronic illness
  • access to and quality of health care
  • disability

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
Support for Health Insurance Coverage for Legal Abortion in the United States
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(1), 433; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010433 - 31 Dec 2021
Viewed by 77
Abstract
The use of health insurance to cover legal abortion is a controversial issue on which Americans are sharply divided. Currently, there is a lack of research on this issue as data became available only recently. Using data from the newly released General Social [...] Read more.
The use of health insurance to cover legal abortion is a controversial issue on which Americans are sharply divided. Currently, there is a lack of research on this issue as data became available only recently. Using data from the newly released General Social Survey in 2018, this study examines who is more or less likely to support health insurance coverage for legal abortion. The results show that the support and opposition were about evenly divided. The findings from the logistic regression analysis reveal that, holding other variables constant, Democrats, liberals, urban residents, the more educated, and the older were more likely to support health insurance coverage for legal abortion while women, Southerners, Christians, the currently married, and those with more children were less likely to favor it, compared to their respective counterparts. Additionally, the effect of education was stronger for liberals than for non-liberals. Race, family income, and full-time work status make no difference in the outcome. The findings have significant implications for research and practices in health insurance coverage for legal abortion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disparities in Health-Risk Behaviors and Health)
Article
Gender and Childhood Victimization: A Longitudinal Study of Heavy Drinking in Young Adulthood
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(21), 11089; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111089 - 21 Oct 2021
Viewed by 548
Abstract
The present longitudinal study, for 12 years, followed a group of young adults, examining (1) whether/how victimization in childhood increased the likelihood of heavy drinking; (2) whether depression mediated the strain–heavy drinking relationship; and (3) whether/how relationships among strain, depression, and heavy drinking [...] Read more.
The present longitudinal study, for 12 years, followed a group of young adults, examining (1) whether/how victimization in childhood increased the likelihood of heavy drinking; (2) whether depression mediated the strain–heavy drinking relationship; and (3) whether/how relationships among strain, depression, and heavy drinking differed across two gender groups. Data came from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 cohort, dating 2004–2015 (5 interview waves and 22,549 person-wave measurements total). We linked consumption of 5+ drinks (during the month prior) to four discrete measures of violent victimization, to one measure of stressful events, and to depression. We needed to consider repeat measures of the same variables over time, so we used generalized estimating equations (GEE) to analyze data. Depression was found to increase heavy drinking uniformly. Empirical evidence confirmed that in the strain–heavy drinking relationship, depression plays a minor mediating role. Gender moderated heavy drinking’s associations. Specifically, bullying in childhood raised risk for female respondents. The current strain was associated with a higher risk of heavy drinking among male respondents. Childhood victimization, as well as current life stress, play an important role in depression and heavy drinking. Future research should focus on the development of specific, targeted care to reduce heavy drinking’s harm and promote equity among Americans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disparities in Health-Risk Behaviors and Health)

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Locality of Social Ties, Smoking and Drinking among Rural-To-Urban Migrants in China
Authors: Xi Chen; Hua Zhong; Serena Yunran Zhang
Affiliation: The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Abstract: Background: China has witnessed unprecedented rural-to-urban migration since the early 1980s and an estimated 280 million rural residents have moved to urban areas by 2018. While trying to assimilate into the city, this population still maintains close ties with their home communities. This study examines how local ties and trans-local ties of rural-to-urban migrants affect their drinking and smoking behavior. Methods: Data were obtained from the 2018 China Labor Dynamics Survey, a national probability sampling of adults aged over 15 in 29 provinces in China. Participants included 706 rural-to-urban migrants and 4,320 urban residents in China. Results: The results showed that migrants engaged in more health risk behavior than their urban counterparts. Migrants with more local ties (to be forced to strengthen “Guanxi”) engaged in more drinking behavior, whereas trans-local ties were not a significant correlate. In contrast, migrants with stronger trans-local ties (to reinforce their original rural subculture) were more likely to be current smokers and tended to smoke more cigarettes after adjusting for sociodemographic variables. Conclusion: These findings extended the social network and health literature by identifying how local and trans-local ties differentially affected the vulnerabilities of smoking and drinking among rural-to-urban migrants. This study also suggested that policies and interventions on reducing migrants’ health risk behavior should focus on the role of different types of social ties.

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