Embargoed AJPH Research: Job Losses and Teen Suicide-Related Behaviors, Online Weight Loss Sites, LGB Students and At-School Adult Connections

Released: 11-Aug-2014 11:00 AM EDT
Embargo expired: 14-Aug-2014 4:00 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: American Public Health Association (APHA)
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Available for logged-in reporters only

EMBARGOED UNTIL Aug. 14, 2014 4 p.m. EDT


Contact: For copies of articles or full table of contents of this month’s released studies, call Kimberly Short, 202-777-2511, or email Kimberly.Short@apha.org.


American Journal of Public Health highlights:
1. Economic downturns linked to adolescent suicide-related behaviors
2. Most online weight loss information lacks quality, accuracy
3. LGB adolescents without a connection to an adult at school show risk in substance use and mental health outcomes

Economic downturns linked to adolescent suicide-related behaviors
New research from the American Journal of Public Health finds that economic downturns may have an effect on increasing the risk of female or black adolescents engaging in suicide-related behaviors.

Researchers sought to understand how statewide job loss rates could be correlated to adolescent suicide-related behaviors. The study investigated self-reported data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey from 1997 through 2009, reviewing a sample of 403,457 adolescents from 45 states. The survey responses were reviewed alongside the data from the Mass Layoff Statistics program, which captures the number of people who lost their jobs due to mass closings or layoffs from all states and the District of Columbia.

Results from the study indicate that states with job losses among 1 percent of the state’s working population, showed an increase in the chance of a female or black adolescent engaging in suicide-related behaviors.

“Girls are more likely than boys to have serious mood or anxiety disorders during adolescence, both risk factors of suicide, and are more likely to engage in suicide-related behaviors. We found that job losses increased girls’ suicidal ideation and suicide plans but had no effect on the suicide-related behaviors of boys,” the authors explained.

“Although we cannot identify why non-Hispanic black teenagers were more likely than other groups to be affected by community-wide job loss, our results are consistent with previous work showing that local job losses disproportionately increase the use of emergency psychiatric care among black youths,” they write.

[“Effects of Statewide Job Losses on Adolescent Suicide-Related Behaviors.”Contact: Anna Gassman-Pines, PhD, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, agassman.pines@duke.edu].

Most online weight loss information lacks quality, accuracy
The majority of websites with weight loss content contain suboptimal quality information, according to a new study from the American Journal of Public Health. Quality online resources exist, but appear too low in online search results.

The study generated search terms that those interested in losing weight would use. Results from those search terms were then evaluated on the basis of content quality, accessibility of the information and author credentials. Quality was evaluated in the categories of nutrition, physical activity and behavioral strategies for weight loss along with pharmacotherapy and surgical options.

Results indicated that of the 129 unique sites reviewed, fewer than one-fifth of the websites contained accurate information on 50 percent of the key information in categories of nutrition, physical activity and behavioral strategies for weight loss. There were few medical sites and government or university sites in the results, but those that did appear tended to be high quality. Based on the study’s 16 point evaluation scale, none of the websites contained information that was comprehensive in breadth and accuracy.

“Higher quality information provided by reputable organizations exists. Such organizations, particularly medical, government or university organizations, need to improve their websites, with a particular emphasis on search engine optimization to ensure that their websites top searches pertaining to weight loss. These websites could also be significantly improved by providing more condensed information on a better overview of diet, weight loss, and physical activity,” the researchers suggest.

[“Analysis of the Accuracy of Weight Loss Information Search Engine Results on the Internet,” Contact: François Modave, PhD, Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi, Francois.p.modave@jsums.edu].

LGB adolescents without a connection to an adult at school show risk in substance use and mental health outcomes
Lesbian, gay and bisexual adolescents without an at-school adult connection may have the greatest risk for alcohol and substance use and mental health outcomes, according to new research from the American Journal of Public Health.

The study assessed survey results from 8,910 respondents of the 2009 New York City Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Among the survey questions reviewed in this study, the survey inquired about students’ sexual orientation, the presence of a connection with an adult at school, depressive symptoms and their habits as it related to marijuana use and alcohol consumption.

Results from the study found that adolescents that identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual were more likely to show a greater prevalence of alcohol and substance abuse and suicidal ideation and behavior than heterosexual students. Additionally, students who lacked an at-school connection showed a higher prevalence of the outcomes compared to those with an at-school connection. However, LGB students who had an at-school adult connection were still more likely to show a prevalence of alcohol and substance abuse and suicidal ideation and behavior compared to heterosexual students without a connection. And LGB students without an at-school connection showed the greatest risk in alcohol and substance abuse and poor mental health indicators.

“Our findings confirm the importance of social support in decreasing prevalence of substance use as well as promoting mental health. Perceived social support from adults in the school seems to have positive effects for all adolescents,” the authors conclude.

[“Sexual Orientation, Adult Connectedness, Substance Use, and Mental Health Outcomes Among Adolescents: Findings from the 2009 New York City Youth Risk Behavior Survey,” Contact: Megan V. Smith, DrPH, MPH, New Haven, Connecticut, Megan.smith@yale.edu].


Find a full list of research papers to be published online on August 14, 2014, at 4 p.m. EDT below:
• Dentist Supply and Children's Oral Health in the United States
• Patterns of visit attendance in the Nurse-Family Partnership Program
• Use of Research Evidence in State Policymaking for Childhood Obesity Prevention in Minnesota
• The Alcohol Policy Environment and Policy Subgroups as Predictors of Binge Drinking Measures among U.S. Adults
• Regulating Alcohol Advertising: Content Analysis of the Adequacy of Federal and Self-Regulation of Magazine Ads, 2008-2010
• The Relationship between Gun Ownership and Stranger and Non-Stranger Firearm Homicide Rates in the United States, 1981-2010
• Home renovation, family atopy history, and respiratory symptoms and asthma in Chinese children: the Seven Northeastern Cities (SNEC) Study
• Factors influencing adoption and adherence to indoor smoking bans among health disparity communities
• Use of a Learning Collaborative to Support Implementation of Integrated Care for Smoking Cessation for Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
• Cigarette Smoking Among Adults with Mobility Impairments: A US Population-Based Survey
• Transnational, Social, and Neighborhood Ties and Smoking among Latino Immigrants: Does Gender Matter?
• Implementation of Tobacco Cessation Quitline Practices in the U.S. and Canada
• Sexual Orientation, Adult Connectedness, Substance Use, and Mental Health Outcomes among Adolescents: Findings from the 2009 New York City Youth Risk Behavior Survey
• Sexual Identity, Partner Sex, and Sexual Health Among Adolescent Girls in the United States
• Physical Dating Violence Victimization Among Sexual Minority Youth
• A Statewide Collaboration to Initiate Mental Health Screening and Assess Services for Indiana Detained Youth
• Statewide Job Losses Increase Adolescent Suicide-Related Behaviors
• Can We Trust Weight Loss Information On The Internet? An Analysis Of The Accuracy of Search Engine Result Pages
• The Impact of an Exercise Intervention on Physical Activity during Pregnancy: The Behaviors Affecting Baby and You (B.A.B.Y.) Study
• Effects of Early Dental Office Visits On Dental Caries Experience
• The Montana Radon Study: Social Marketing via Digital Signage Technology for Reaching Families in the Waiting Room
• Reduction in fatalities, ambulance calls and hospital admissions for road trauma following new traffic laws.
• Adverse Outcomes among Homeless Adolescents and Young Adults Who Report a History of TBI
• An education in contrast: State-by-state assessment of school immunization records requirements
• Enhancing Diversity in the Public Health Research Workforce: the Research and Mentorship Program (RAMP) for Future HIV Vaccine Scientists


The articles above will be published online Aug. 14, 2014, at 4 p.m. (EDT) by the American Journal of Public Health® under “First Look.” “First Look” articles have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue. The American Journal of Public Health is published by the American Public Health Association, www.apha.org, and is available at www.ajph.org.
The American Journal of Public Health ® is the monthly journal of the American Public Health Association. APHA champions the health of all people and all communities by strengthening the profession of public health, sharing the latest research and information, promoting best practices and advocating for public health issues and policies grounded in research. More information is available at www.apha.org.

Complimentary online access to the Journal is available to credentialed members of the media. Address inquiries to Kimberly Short at APHA, 202-777-2511, or via email, Kimberly.Short@apha.org. A single print issue of the Journal is available for $35 from the Journal’s Subscriptions department at www.ajph.org/subscriptions. If you are not a member of the press, a member of APHA or a subscriber, online single issue access is $30 and online single article access is $22 at www.ajph.org or for direct customer service, call 202-777-2516, or email ajph.subscriptions@apha.org.

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