Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Edin and Shaefer's book a call to action for Americans to deal with poverty

Weir says pain may underlie rise in suicide and substance-related deaths among white middle-aged Americans

Weitzman says China's one-child policy has had devastating effects on first-born daughters


MCubed opens for new round of seed funding, November 4-18

PSC News, fall 2015 now available

Barbara Anderson appointed chair of Census Scientific Advisory Committee

John Knodel honored by Thailand's Chulalongkorn University

Next Brown Bag

Monday, Dec 7 at noon, 6050 ISR-Thompson
Daniel Eisenberg, "Healthy Minds Network: Mental Health among College-Age Populations"

Collective efficacy and obesity: The potential influence of social factors on health

Publication Abstract

Cohen, D.A., B.K. Finch, A. Bower, and Narayan Sastry. 2006. "Collective efficacy and obesity: The potential influence of social factors on health." Social Science & Medicine, 62(3): 769-778.

Social determinants have been identified as a fundamental cause of health and disease in most industrialized countries. However, much less is known about which characteristics of communities may lead to disparities in health outcomes. Collective efficacy-the willingness of community members to look out for each other and intervene when trouble arises-is a social factor shown to be associated with outcomes related to obesity, including premature mortality and cardiovascular disease. The objective of this study is to determine whether neighborhood collective efficacy is associated with individual measures of body mass index (BMI) in adolescents. We use a multi-level, cross-sectional survey in Los Angeles County, involving 807 adolescents in 684 households in 65 neighborhoods in addition to a sample of 3000 adult respondents. The main outcomes measures are BMI, at risk of overweight, and overweight status. Using a two-level model, we find significant relationships between collective efficacy and all three outcomes, net of levels of neighborhood disadvantage. The associations between BMI and collective efficacy could potentially be explained by several factors, including a metabolic pathway, neighborhood differences in the physical and social environments, or a combination of these two. If group-level collective efficacy is indeed important in the regulation of individual-level net energy balance, it suggests that future interventions to control weight by addressing the social environment at the community level may be promising.

DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.06.033 (Full Text)

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next