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Socioeconomic Position, Health Behaviors, and C-Reactive Protein: A Moderated-Mediation Analysis

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Kershaw, K.N., B. Mezuk, C.M. Abdou, J.A. Rafferty, and James S. Jackson. 2010. "Socioeconomic Position, Health Behaviors, and C-Reactive Protein: A Moderated-Mediation Analysis." Health Psychology, 29(3): 307-316.

Objective: We sought to understand-the link between low socioeconomic position (SEP) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) by examining the association between SEP, health-related coping behaviors, and C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammatory marker and independent risk factor for CVD, in a U.S. sample of adults. Design: We used a multiple mediation model to evaluate how these behaviors work in concert to influence CRP levels and whether these relationships were moderated by gender and race/ethnicity. Main outcome measures: CRP levels were divided into two categories: elevated CRP (3.1-10.0 mg/L) and normal CRP (.-53.0 mg/L). Results: Both poverty and low educational attainment were associated with elevated CRP, and these associations were primarily explained through higher levels of smoking and lower levels of exercise. In the education model, poor diet also emerged as a significant mediator. These behaviors accounted for 87.9% of the total effect of education on CRP and 55.8% the total effect of poverty on CRP. We also found significant moderation of these mediated effects by gender and race/ethnicity. Conclusion: These findings demonstrate the influence of socioeconomically patterned environmental constraints on individual-level health behaviors. Specifically, reducing socioeconomic inequalities may have positive effects on CVD disparities through reducing cigarette smoking and increasing vigorous exercise.

DOI:10.1037/a0019286 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC2881158. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: United States.

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