Successful academic performance during adolescence is a key predictor of lifetime achievement, including occupational and social success. The present study investigated the important transition from primary to secondary schooling during early adolescence, when academic performance among youth often declines. The goal of the study was to understand how risk factors, specifically lower family resources and male gender, threaten academic success following this "critical transition" in schooling. The study involved a longitudinal examination of the predictors of academic performance in grades 7-8 among 127 (56 % girls) French-speaking Quebec (Canada) adolescents from lower-income backgrounds. As hypothesized based on transition theory, hierarchical regression analyses showed that supportive parenting and specific academic, social and behavioral competencies (including spelling ability, social skills, and lower levels of attention problems) predicted success across this transition among at-risk youth. Multiple-mediation procedures demonstrated that the set of compensatory factors fully mediated the negative impact of lower family resources on academic success in grades 7-8. Unique mediators (social skills, spelling ability, supportive parenting) also were identified. In addition, the "gender gap" in performance across the transition could be attributed statistically to differences between boys and girls in specific competencies observed prior to the transition, as well as differential parenting (i.e., support from mother) towards girls and boys. The present results contribute to our understanding of the processes by which established risk factors, such as low family income and gender impact development and academic performance during early adolescence. These "transitional" processes and subsequent academic performance may have consequences across adolescence and beyond, with an impact on lifetime patterns of achievement and occupational success.
The break-up of the USSR brought considerable disruption to health services in Russia. The uptake of compulsory health insurance rose rapidly after its introduction in 1993. However, by 2000 coverage was still incomplete, especially amongst the disadvantaged. By this time, however, the state health service had become more stable, and the private sector was growing. This paper describes subsequent trends and determinants of healthcare insurance coverage in Russia, and its relationship with health service utilisation, as well as the role of the private sector.
Data were from the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey, an annual household panel survey (2000-4) from 38 centres across the Russian Federation. Annual trends in insurance coverage were measured (2000-4). Cross-sectional multivariate analyses of the determinants of health insurance and its relationship with health care utilisation were performed in working-age people (18-59 years) using 2004 data.
Between 2000 and 2004, coverage by the compulsory insurance scheme increased from 88% to 94% of adults; however 10% of working-age men remained uninsured. Compulsory health insurance coverage was lower amongst the poor, unemployed, unhealthy and people outside the main cities. The uninsured were less likely to seek medical help for new health problems. 3% of respondents had supplementary (private) insurance, and rising utilisation of private healthcare was greatest amongst the more educated and wealthy.
Despite high population insurance coverage, a multiply disadvantaged uninsured minority remains, with low utilisation of health services. Universal insurance could therefore increase access, and potentially contribute to reducing avoidable healthcare-related mortality. Meanwhile, the socioeconomically advantaged are turning increasingly to a growing private sector.
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This study investigated whether adolescent's family type was associated with regular smoking or the use of illicit substances (cannabis or hard drugs) among underage adolescent psychiatric in-patients. The sample consisted of 471 adolescents aged 12-17 years admitted to psychiatric hospital between April 2001 and March 2006 at Oulu University Hospital, Finland. The information on family factors and substance use was based on the Schedule for Affective Disorder and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children, Present and Lifetime interview and the European modification of the Addiction Severity Index questionnaire. Compared to adolescent boys from two-parent families, those from child welfare placement were more likely to regularly use both cannabis (odds ratio [OR]=4.4; 95%confidence interval [CI]=1.4-13.7; P=.012) and hard drugs (OR=8.4; 95% CI=1.7-42.1; P=.01).Among girls, no association was found between family type and the use of illicit substances. Two-parent or foster family units may protect adolescents from involvement with illicit substances. In clinical adolescent psychiatric practice more attention should be paid to family interventions and parental support.
Children from poor families are much more likely to have emergency visits for asthma than those from nonpoor families, which may be related to financial access barriers to good preventive care for the poor. We sought to determine whether in a health-care system that provides free access to outpatient and hospital services, the disparities in the rates of emergency visits for asthma would be less apparent across the income gradient.
Longitudinal, population-based study.
All children born in Alberta, Canada between 1985 and 1988 (n = 90,845) were classified into three mutually exclusive groups based on the reported annual income of their parents from the previous year: very poor, poor, and nonpoor groups.
We compared the relative risk (RR) of emergency visits for childhood asthma among children of very poor, poor, and nonpoor families using a Cox proportional hazard model during a 10-year follow-up. We found that the very poor children were 23% more likely to have had an emergency visit for asthma than those from nonpoor families (RR, 1.23; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.14 to 1.33), adjusted for a variety of factors. The poor group, however, had a similar risk of asthma emergency visits as the nonpoor group (RR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.91 to 1.04). The average number of office visits for asthma was similar between the very poor and nonpoor groups.
In a setting of universal access to health care, children of poor and nonpoor families had similar rates of asthma emergency visits; the very poor children, however, continued to experience an excess risk. These findings suggest that a universal health-care system can reduce, but not fully eliminate, the disparities in emergency utilization of asthma across income categories.
From the aFinnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland; bDepartment of Public Health, University of Turku, Turku, Finland; cSchool of Health Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland; dDepartment of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA; eDepartment of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London Medical School, London, United Kingdom; fClinicum, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland; and gTurku University Hospital, Turku, Finland.
Evidence for an association between neighborhood disadvantage and smoking is mixed and mainly based on cross-sectional studies. To shed light on the causality of this association, we examined whether change in neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage is associated with within-individual change in smoking behaviors.
The study population comprised participants of the Finnish Public Sector study who reported a change in their smoking behavior between surveys in 2008/2009 and 2012/2013. We linked participants' residential addresses to a total population database on neighborhood disadvantage with 250?×?250-m resolution. The outcome variables were changes in smoking status (being a smoker vs. not) as well as the intensity (heavy/moderate vs. light smoker). We used longitudinal case-crossover design, a method that accounts for time-invariant confounders by design. We adjusted models for time-varying covariates.
Of the 3,443 participants, 1,714 quit, while 967 began to smoke between surveys. Smoking intensity increased among 398 and decreased among 364 participants. The level of neighborhood disadvantage changed for 1,078 participants because they moved residence. Increased disadvantage was associated with increased odds of being a smoker (odds ratio of taking up smoking 1.23 [95% confidence interval: 1.2, 1.5] per 1 SD increase in standardized national disadvantage score). Odds ratio for being a heavy/moderate (vs. light) smoker was 1.14 (95% confidence interval: 0.85, 1.52) when disadvantage increased by 1 SD.
These within-individual results link an increase in neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage, due to move in residence, with subsequent smoking behaviors.
The authors examined the association between maternal reports of child asthma attacks since birth and occurrence of elevated maternal depressive symptoms at seventeen months postpartum in the present study. The modifying role of poverty in this association was also examined. Data from n = 1,696 mother-child dyads from the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development, a birth cohort of children born in 1998, were used. Maternal depressive symptoms were measured with an abridged and validated twelve-item version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Maternal reports of child asthma attacks since birth in relation to the occurrence of maternal depressive symptoms at 17 months postpartum and the potential modifying role of poverty were tested using multiple logistic regression models. When mothers reported child asthma attacks, those without elevated depressive symptoms at 5 months postpartum had lower odds of elevated depressive symptoms one year later (OR = 0.2, 95% CI: 0.1-0.7). Poverty was associated with increased odds of elevated maternal depressive symptoms (OR = 2.4, 95% CI: 1.5-3.9), without interacting with child asthma. Through this study, the authors suggest that in mothers without elevated symptoms at 5 months, reported child asthma attacks since birth did not contribute one year later to new occurrence of depressive symptoms.
In Canada, hunger is believed to be rare. This study examined the prevalence of hunger among Canadian children and the characteristics of, and coping strategies used by, families with children experiencing hunger.
The data originated from the first wave of data collection for the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, conducted in 1994, which included 13,439 randomly selected Canadian families with children aged 11 years or less. The respondents were asked about the child's experience of hunger and consequent use of coping strategies. Sociodemographic and other risk factors for families experiencing hunger, use of food assistance programs and other coping strategies were analyzed by means of multiple logistic regression analysis.
Hunger was experienced by 1.2% (206) of the families in the survey, representing 57,000 Canadian families. Single-parent families, families relying on social assistance and off-reserve Aboriginal families were overrepresented among those experiencing hunger. Hunger coexisted with the mother's poor health and activity limitation and poor child health. Parents offset the needs of their children by depriving themselves of food.
Physicians may wish to use these demographic characteristics to identify and assist families with children potentially at risk for hunger.
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To examine the role of higher long-term poverty rates in the Maritimes as an explanation for higher rates of asthma among children 2-7 years of age.
Using longitudinal data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY), logistic regressions examine associations between poverty duration and the probability of a child having been diagnosed with asthma, having a current asthma attack or experiencing wheezing in the past 12 months, controlling for other known determinants.
NLSCY data indicate that 15.9% of Maritime children have been diagnosed with asthma, 8.7% have recently had an attack and 24.1% experienced wheezing, statistically higher levels than in the rest of Canada. Children in chronic poverty show rates that are over 30% higher than the Canadian averages. Although 19.9% of Maritime children have been chronically poor compared to 11.7% elsewhere, and although poverty is associated with a higher probability of asthma/wheezing, controlling for poverty status does not eliminate the regional difference in asthma rates. Including other controls with poverty status again does not fully explain the difference.
While these findings do not completely explain why asthma prevalence rates are higher for Maritime children, they do indicate important pathways from poverty to childhood asthma. For example, chronically poor children are more likely to have had low birthweights and are less likely to have been breastfed, both of which are correlates of asthma. Such information can be useful for policy-makers. Pollutants and other environmental factors associated with asthma not included in the study may help further explain regional differences.
This study identifies a high-risk subpopulation of children with a markedly antisocial behavioural profile in a national sample of Canadian children. We examine a broad array of environmental and child factors that may be associated with this high-risk group. The data are for 18,135 two to eleven year olds in the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth. A cluster analysis was performed to identify children possessing extreme antisocial behaviour across five dimensions: aggression, hyperactivity, prosocial behaviour, emotional difficulties and misconduct. Clusters were compared across structural, family, school, neighbourhood, and health covariates. Membership in this severe cluster is associated with material disadvantage across the range of environmental factors as well as significant deficits in child health and education.
A central theme of research on human development and psychopathology is whether a therapeutic intervention or a turning-point event, such as a family break-up, alters the trajectory of the behavior under study. This article describes and applies a method for using observational longitudinal data to make more transparent causal inferences about the impact of such events on developmental trajectories. The method combines 2 distinct lines of research: work on the use of finite mixture modeling to analyze developmental trajectories and work on propensity score matching. The propensity scores are used to balance observed covariates and the trajectory groups are used to control pretreatment measures of response. The trajectory groups also aid in characterizing classes of subjects for which no good matches are available. The approach is demonstrated with an analysis of the impact of gang membership on violent delinquency based on data from a large longitudinal study conducted in Montréal, Canada.