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Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Longitudinal associations between social support and physical and mental health in African American adults

Author
item Mama, Scherezade - Md Anderson Cancer Center
item Basen-engquist, Karen - Md Anderson Cancer Center
item Lee, Rebecca - Arizona State University
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe
item Wetter, David - Rice University
item Nguyen, Nga - Md Anderson Cancer Center
item Reitzel, Lorraine - University Of Houston
item Mcneill, Lorna - Md Anderson Cancer Center

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/16/2015
Publication Date: 6/6/2015
Citation: Mama, S., Basen-Engquist, K., Lee, R., Thompson, D.J., Wetter, D., Nguyen, N., Reitzel, L., McNeill, L. 2015. Longitudinal associations between social support and physical and mental health in African American adults [abstract]. International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Conference, June 3-6, 2015, Edinburgh, Scotland. Poster P3.135.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: African Americans report a greater number of modifiable risk factors, such as overweight/obesity, physical inactivity and poor dietary habits, putting them at increased risk of developing and dying from chronic diseases. These risk factors are also associated with poorer health-related quality of life. The purpose of this study was to examine health-related quality of life in African American men and women over 2 years and determine how health patterns are affected by social support. African Americans enrolled in a longitudinal church-based cohort completed the 12-item Interpersonal Support Evaluation List (ISEL-12) to assess social support and the 12-item short form (SF-12) Health Survey to assess physical and mental health at baseline (Year 1) and two years later (Year 3). Linear mixed models (LMM) were used to examine physical and mental health patterns over time, adjusting for gender, age, BMI, education, income, employment and marital status, and number of children. Participants (N=1270) were mostly female (74.6%), middle-aged (M=45.2 years, SD=12.9) and obese (M BMI=31.6 kg/m2, SD=7.3). Most participants were unmarried (58.4%), had 1 or more children (69.4%), and were currently employed (73.9%). Nearly half (48.5%) had a college degree, and 35.3% reported an annual household income =$80,000. Social support significantly decreased over time (change=2.7, t=18.2, p<.001) while mental health (change=1.5, t=4.949, p<.001) improved. Changes in social support were positively associated with changes in physical (Estimate=0.173, SE=0.028, p<.001) and mental health (Estimate=0.480, SE=0.607, p<.001). Changes in social support were associated with favorable changes in physical and mental health. Further research is needed to explore interactions between social support and demographics, such as gender, socioeconomic status and weight status, and potential psychosocial mediators and how they influence physical and mental health patterns in African American adults. Health promotion efforts to increase social support may positively impact physical and mental health, and interventions capitalizing on the existing support within a church-based cohort may lead to further improvement in health in African Americans, reducing health disparities.