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Relationships between psychological distress and health behaviors among Canadian adults: Differences based on gender, income, education, immigrant status, and ethnicity

TitleRelationships between psychological distress and health behaviors among Canadian adults: Differences based on gender, income, education, immigrant status, and ethnicity
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsSt-Pierre, M., Sinclair I., Elgbeili G., Bernard P., and Dancause K. Needham
JournalSocial Science and Medicine - Population Health
Volume7
Pages1 - 12
Keywordsdiet, health disparities, mental health, physical activity, psychosocial health, smoking
Abstract

Objective Psychosocial health predicts physical health outcomes in both clinical samples and the general population. One mechanism is through relationships with health behaviors. Results might differ based on sociodemographic characteristics such as education, income, ethnicity, and immigrant status. Our objective was to analyze sociodemographic differences in relationships between psychosocial health measures and health behaviors in the general population of Canadian adults. Methods We analyzed relationships between non-specific psychological distress, assessed using the Kessler-10 scale, and five key health behaviors: fruit and vegetable intake, screen sedentary behavior, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and cigarette use. Data were collected by Statistics Canada for the Canadian Community Health Survey in 2011-2014. Our sample included 54,789 participants representative of 14,555,346 Canadian adults. We used univariate general linear models on the weighted sample to analyze relationships between distress (predictor) and each health behavior, controlling for age. We entered sex and one of four sociodemographic variable of interest (education, income, ethnicity, immigrant status) into each model to analyze gender and sociodemographic differences in relationships. Results Greater distress predicted less fruit and vegetable intake and physical activity, and greater screen sedentary behavior and cigarette use, in the full sample, with small effect sizes (partial n2 up to 0.013). Differences by gender and sociodemographic characteristics were evident for all health behaviors. Conclusions Psychosocial health might contribute to persistent socioeconomic disparities in health in part through relationships with health behaviors, although relationships in the general population are modest. Health behavior interventions incorporating psychosocial health might need to be tailored based on socioeconomic characteristics, and future research on intersections between multiple sociodemographic risk factors remains necessary.

URLhttps://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352827318301101
DOI10.1016/j.ssmph.2019.100385
Document URLhttps://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S2352827318301101?token=1265AA7D34DB15C8B03672ADE4656A9449A13FCDA8C8DBF6353C29A6B909497864136782B96C7F453C94C19B36BC9D9E