Scientists discover complex connections between social dynamics and diseases

Large gatherings—from music festivals to religious pilgrimages to sporting events—have long been known to increase risks of infectious disease outbreaks. Now results from an NSF-funded study led by UC Berkeley researchers associate even small-scale community gatherings with increased transmission of diarrheal diseases. The results are published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Gatherings at events can create environmental and social […]

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Researchers find screenings for social determinants of health need to be tailored to clinics

Study of community health centers in Boston finds great deal of variation in practice, as well as in provider and staff opinions about what helps or hinders the process. An estimated 70 percent of the variation in healthcare outcomes is attributable to social determinants——but it is only in recent years that healthcare settings have begun formally looking at these factors […]

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Why Australians are using painkillers for social and emotional suffering

George (Kev) Dertadian has always been interested in challenging the stigmatisation of drug users. The UNSW Criminology Lecturer and social researcher’s fascination with this field of research started when he read a paper by UNSW academics Professor Lisa Maher and Professor David Dixon on the cost of drug crackdowns in Cabramatta. “They found that when you crack down on communities […]

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Social risk factors and readmission penalties

New research shows that U.S. safety net hospitals could benefit substantially from a new model that accounts for social risk factors like poverty and living in a disadvantaged neighborhood in determining how the federal government penalizes hospitals financially for their readmission rates. Researchers say their risk adjustment model could reduce the financial penalty for at least half of all safety […]

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Social anxiety disorder may increase risk of alcoholism

New research published in Depression and Anxiety indicates that, unlike other anxiety disorders, social anxiety disorder may have a direct effect on alcoholism. For the study, researchers assessed alcoholism, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, and specific phobias through interviews with 2,801 adult Norwegian twins. Social anxiety disorder had the strongest association with alcoholism, and it predicted […]

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‘I’d go to a family function and not talk to anyone’: the social impact of hearing loss

Alan Edwards can still remember the day he heard clearly for the first time. “It was an overwhelming sense of calm,” Edwards says, remembering sitting on a park bench and laughing as he enjoyed the sounds he’d never heard before. Alan Edwards found himself feeling isolated when his hearing deteriorated. “It was really fascinating and amazing.” Having struggled with genetic, […]

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Self-harm and social media: A knee-jerk ban on content could actually harm young people

Instagram has announced it will ban graphic self-harm images from the platform. The social media company has been under pressure from the UK government and health professionals – including Dame Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer, who recently argued that social media companies have a duty of care to keep children safe. There is growing concern that such content “has […]

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Data show no evidence that teens’ social media use predicts depression over time

Longitudinal data from adolescents and young adults show no evidence that social media use predicts later depressive symptoms, according to research published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. However, the findings do show that relatively higher depressive symptoms predicted later social media use among adolescent girls. This research stands in contrast with recent claims […]

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Our social judgments reveal a tension between morals and statistics

People make statistically-informed judgments about who is more likely to hold particular professions even though they criticize others for the same behavior, according to findings published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. “People don’t like it when someone uses group averages to make judgments about individuals from different social groups who are otherwise identical. They […]

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