A total of 1,729 children (2nd-9th grades) in South Africa, Iceland, Poland, Australia, the U.K., and the U.S.A. rated 20 events in terms of how upsetting they are. Save in Poland, the ratings were in close agreement (r, .85-.97), placing the loss of parent at the top and a new baby sibling at the bottom. In Poland, the baby's arrival led the list. Even so, what was seen as quite upsetting fell everywhere in the same two categories--experiences that threaten one's sense of security and those that occasion personal denigration and embarrassment.
A comparative study of adolescent reproductive behavior in the 1980s examined difference in pregnancy, birth, and abortion levels among teenagers in developed countries especially in the US, Canada, the UK, France, the Netherlands, and Sweden. Only 6 of 37 countries with total fertility rates 3.5 and per capita income US$2000/year, and at least 1 million people had adolescent birth rates higher than the US (Bulgaria, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Romania, Hungary, and Chile). The US had the highest abortion rate (42/1000) followed by Hungary (27/1000). Thus the US had the highest adolescent pregnancy rate (96/1000) as well as Hungary (96/1000). The 6 country analysis showed that reducing the level of sexual activity among teenagers is not necessarily needed to achieve lower pregnancy rates. For example, Sweden had the highest levels of sexual activity but its pregnancy rate were 33% as high as those of the US. The rates of sexual activity among teenagers in the Netherlands equaled those of the US, but its pregnancy rates were 14% as high as those of the US. All countries had earlier, more extensive, and better contraceptive use among sexually active teenagers than the US which accounted for their lower pregnancy rates. The more realistic acceptance of sexual activity among teenagers and provision of contraceptives in all the countries except the US differed from the societal ambivalence in the US. Thus ambivalence about sexuality and the appropriateness of contraceptive use results in lower contraceptive use and greater adolescent pregnancy rates. US adolescents constantly receive conflicting messages that sex is romantic, thrilling, and arousing but it is also immoral to have premarital sex. Thus adults need to be more candid about sexuality so they can clearly convey to adolescents their expectations for responsible behavior and to provide the information and services needed to make effective use of contraceptives when sexually active.
Child and Adolescent Health Research Unit (CAHRU), Department of PE, Sport and Leisure Studies, University of Edinburgh, St. Leonard's Land, Holyrood Road, EH8 8AQ, Edinburgh, UK. firstname.lastname@example.org
This paper examines the relationship between family structure and smoking among 15-year-old adolescents in seven European countries. It also investigates the association between family structure and a number of known smoking risk factors including family socio-economic status, the adolescent's disposable income, parental smoking and the presence of other smokers in the adolescent's home. Findings are based on 1998 survey data from a cross-national study of health behaviours among children and adolescents. Family structure was found to be significantly associated with smoking among 15-year-olds in all countries, with smoking prevalence lowest among adolescents in intact families and highest among adolescents in stepfamilies. Multivariate analysis showed that several risk factors were associated with higher smoking prevalences in all countries, but that even after these other factors were taken into account, there was an increased likelihood of smoking among adolescents in stepfamilies. Further research is needed to determine the possible reasons for this association.
The exercise of compulsory powers for the protection of society against the spread of infectious diseases may impose severe restrictions on individual liberty. The law should therefore enable public health officials to strike the proper balance between public health and individual rights. An overview of the infectious diseases control legislation of five European countries (Germany, Switzerland, England, Sweden and the Netherlands) shows outdated medical approaches to infectious diseases, deficiencies in substantive statutory criteria and a lack of suitable procedural protection. The law has to be modified not only to fit current epidemiological insights, but also to give full weight to evolving individual rights.
AIMS: To test if there is relationship between alcohol consumption and pancreatitis mortality at the population level. DATA AND METHODS: Annual pancreatitis death rates for 1950-95 were converted into age-adjusted mortality rates per 100,000 inhabitants. Per capita alcohol consumption was measured by alcohol sales. The relationship was estimated with time-series analysis on data from 14 western countries. Several models were tested with different assumptions about risk function and lag structure. RESULTS: According to the assumed most appropriate model, a positive relationship was found in each country, and statistical significance was reached in all countries except from Finland, Italy and Canada. The magnitude of the association was fairly consistent across countries, with the alcohol effect parameters ranging between 0.05 and 0.14. However, Sweden and Norway deviated from this pattern with estimates between 0.30 and 0.40. CONCLUSIONS: Pancreatitis joins a wide range of causes of death where the mortality rate is influenced by per capita alcohol consumption, and more so in northern Europe. It is suggested that pancreatitis mortality is an important indicator of alcohol-related harm, not least because a large amount of morbidity is likely to be connected to the mortality rate.
OBJECTIVE: Frequency of heavy alcohol use among adolescents is examined by family structure and propensity toward heavy alcohol use on the individual level, and by alcohol availability and drinking patterns among adolescents on the societal level. The analysis includes direct effects and moderating effects of societal-level indicators on individual-level associations between family structure and frequency of heavy alcohol use. METHOD: The study drew upon self-reports from 34,001 students in Cyprus, France, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom participating in the 1999 European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs study. Distinctions were drawn between adolescents living with both parents, a single mother, a single father, a mother and stepfather, a father and stepmother, and neither biological parent. The multilevel analysis estimated the effects of societal-level factors on the intercepts and slopes of individual-level regression models. RESULTS: Adolescents living with both biological parents engaged less frequently in heavy alcohol use than those living in any other arrangements. Living with a single mother was associated with less heavy drinking than living with a single father or with neither biological parent. National beer sales figures and societal patterns of heavy adolescent alcohol use predicted more frequent heavy drinking and greater effects of living in nonintact families. CONCLUSIONS: Adolescent heavy drinking is more common in all types of nonintact families. The adverse effect of living in nonintact families is greater in societies where alcohol availability is greater and where adolescents drink more heavily.
There is now convergent evidence from classic quantitative genetics (family, twin, and adoption studies) and molecular genetic studies for specific genetic risk factors for suicidal behavior. This emerging research field has recently been supplemented by geographical studies concerned with the Finno-Ugrian Suicide Hypothesis (FUSH), which states that population differences in genetic risk factors may partially account for conspicuous geographical patterns seen in suicide prevalence. In particular, the European high-suicide-rate nations constitute a contiguous, J-shaped belt, spanning from Finland to Austria. This area maps onto the second principal component identified for European gene distribution, most likely reflecting a major migration event of the past (i.e., the ancestral adaptation to cold climates and the Uralic language dispersion) still detectable in modern European populations. The present research tested the hypothesis in the United States. Consistent with the hypothesis, available historical (1913-1924 and 1928-1932) U.S. state suicide rates were uniformly positively associated with available state proportions of reported American ancestries from European high-suicide-rate countries (Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, and the Ukraine). However, contrary to the hypothesis, available contemporary (1990-1994) suicide rates were uniformly negatively associated with these ancestry proportions. The findings of this first test outside Europe are therefore conflicting. A proposal based on the geographical study approach is offered to further the progress of investigations into the genetics of suicide.
In the present study, the Anxiety Sensitivity Index-Revised (ASI-R; ) was administered to a large sample of persons (n=2786) from different cultures represented in six different countries: Canada, France, Mexico, The Netherlands, Spain, and the United States. We sought to (a) determine the factor structure and internal consistency of the ASI-R and (b) examine the correlations of the measure with psychiatric symptoms and personality dimensions in a single European non-English speaking country (The Netherlands). Partially consistent with the original hypothesis, the underlying structure of the anxiety sensitivity construct was generally similar across countries, tapping fear about the negative consequences of anxiety-related physical and social-cognitive sensations. Lower-order factors were moderately to strongly correlated with one another and showed good internal consistency. The observed lower-order ASI-R factors correlated with established psychiatric symptoms and with the personality trait of neuroticism. Partial correlations indicated that both factors are useful in accounting for variance in symptom measures. We discuss the results of this investigation in relation to the cross-cultural assessment of the anxiety sensitivity construct.
The aim of the study was to examine the relationship between guideline recommendations on asthma management, and the performance of doctors in five different European health care contexts. Knowledge, attitudes and prescribing behaviour of doctors recruited to an educational project was investigated. A total of 698 general practitioners from Germany, The Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, and 94 specialists from the Slovak Republic participated. A questionnaire was used to assess their knowledge and attitudes. Antiasthmatic drugs dispensed to their patients reflected their prescribing behaviour. In response to questions on how to treat chronic asthma, most doctors were in agreement with guideline recommendations. In practice, however, the proportion of asthma patients receiving inhaled steroids varied almost twofold, ranging 31% in Germany to 58% in The Netherlands. On questions related to exacerbation of asthma, German and Slovakian doctors often preferred treatment with antibiotics to steroids. They also more often associated yellow-green sputum with bacterial infection. In conclusion, although many doctors in different health care contexts have accepted the recommendations given in guidelines, the proportion of their patients treated accordingly differed. German and Slovakian doctors seem to attach less importance to the inflammatory features of asthma than the doctors from the other three European countries.
The distinction made in the common law tradition between sane and insane automatisms, and in particular the labelling of epileptic automatisms as insane, are legal concepts which surprise and even astonish lawyers of other traditions, whether they work within a civil law system or one with elements both from civil law and common law. It could be useful to those lawyers, doctors and patients struggling for a change in the common law countries to receive comparative material from other countries. Thus, the way automatisms are dealt with in non-common law countries will be discussed with an emphasis on the Norwegian criminal law system. In Norway no distinction is made between sane and insane automatisms and the plea Not Guilty by virtue of epileptic automatism is both available and valid assuming certain conditions are met. No. 44 of the Penal Code states that acts committed while the perpetrator is unconscious are not punishable. Automatisms are regarded as "relative unconsciousness", and thus included under No. 44. Exceptions may be made if the automatism is a result of self-inflicted intoxication following the consumption of alcohol or (illegal) drugs. Also, the role and relevance of experts as well as the law of some other European countries will be briefly discussed.