Supportive role models, coping lead to better health in poor teens

December 20, 2012

Low-income teenagers who have supportive role models and engage in adaptive strategies have lower levels of a marker for cardiovascular risk than low-income teens without such resources, according to a new study.

The study, by researchers at Northwestern University and the University of British Columbia, is published in the journal Child Development.

"Low socioeconomic status is one of the strongest determinants of chronic disease in developed countries," notes Edith Chen, professor of psychology and faculty fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University, who led the study. "This study suggests that teaching low-income youths strategies to reframe more positively and view the future optimistically, known as shift-and-persist strategies, and encouraging them to connect with supportive may help reduce the physiological burden of growing up in poor neighborhoods."

The study looked at 163 healthy Canadian teens ages 13 to 16 from a variety of . Researchers asked the youths about their role models, had them complete questionnaires about their coping strategies and their thoughts about the future, and drew blood to assess that predict .

Adolescents from low-income families who had supportive role models had lower levels of the inflammatory marker interleukin-6 than those who didn't have such models in their lives. Low-income teens who engaged in shift-and-persist coping strategies also showed lower levels of interleukin-6. These patterns were not seen in youths from high-income families or in youths from low-income families who didn't have these resources.

"This suggests that supportive role models promote shift-and-persist strategies and have physiological benefits specifically in low-income youth," according to Chen.

Explore further: Low socioeconomic status means worse health -- but not for everyone

Related Stories

Low socioeconomic status means worse health -- but not for everyone

March 21, 2012
Poverty is bad for your health. Poor people are much more likely to have heart disease, stroke, and cancer than wealthy people, and have a lower life expectancy, too. Children who grow up poor are more likely to have health ...

Obesity linked to economic status in developing countries

July 18, 2012
(HealthDay) -- In low- and middle-income developing countries, socioeconomic status (SES) plays an important role in the development of obesity, particularly in women, according to research published online July 5 in Obesity ...

Canada should play a role in addressing the global cancer epidemic: researchers

April 10, 2012
Cancer is a growing health concern in low- and middle-income countries, and there is an opportunity for Canada to make a significant contribution to help tackle the disease, states an analysis in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association ...

Recommended for you

Sugar not so sweet for mental health

July 27, 2017
Sugar may be bad not only for your teeth and your waistline, but also your mental health, claimed a study Thursday that was met with scepticism by other experts.

Could insufficient sleep be adding centimeters to your waistline?

July 27, 2017
Adults in the UK who have poor sleep patterns are more likely to be overweight and obese and have poorer metabolic health, according to a new study.

Vitamin E-deficient embryos are cognitively impaired even after diet improves

July 27, 2017
Zebrafish deficient in vitamin E produce offspring beset by behavioral impairment and metabolic problems, new research at Oregon State University shows.

The role of dosage in assessing risk of hormone therapy for menopause

July 27, 2017
When it comes to assessing the risk of estrogen therapy for menopause, how the therapy is delivered—taking a pill versus wearing a patch on one's skin—doesn't affect risk or benefit, researchers at UCLA and elsewhere ...

Blowing smoke? E-cigarettes might help smokers quit

July 26, 2017
People who used e-cigarettes were more likely to kick the habit than those who didn't, a new study found.

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.