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Study on family instability and health published in Social Science Quarterly

New paper by Ethan Evans (Postdoctoral fellow UC Davis Center for Health Policy Research; UC Davis sociology, class of 2016), Bill McCarthy and two colleagues from the University of Victoria (Cecilia Benoit & Mikael Jansson)

A paper by Ethan Evans (Postdoctoral fellow UC Davis Center for Health Policy Research; UC Davis sociology, class of 2016), Bill McCarthy and two colleagues from the University of Victoria (Cecilia Benoit & Mikael Jansson) is now available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ssqu.12448/full.  The study’s findings suggest that family instability in childhood may have long-term consequences for health. This instability within a primary social institution, the family, may also shake the very foundation upon which trust in other institutions is formed. In this paper, “Early Trouble, Long-term Consequences: Does Family Instability Keep People from Doctors?” Evans and colleagues assess the impact of family instability during childhood on adult intentions to seek health care when depressed or in pain. The study uses survey data collected from nearly 600 service workers in Sacramento, CA and Victoria, British Columbia. It finds that adults who experienced high levels of familial disruption, defined as five or more changes, during childhood are less likely to say that they would seek health care when experiencing mental and physical distress. This pattern is independent of a number of demographic attributes, mediating mechanisms, mental and physical health status, and health care access. The study’s findings suggest that family instability in childhood may have long-term consequences for health. This instability within a primary social institution, the family, may also shake the very foundation upon which trust in other institutions is formed.