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Please take this quick survey to tell us about what happens after you publish a paper. Applied Research in Quality of Life. This gap is the lack of a journal that focuses on applied social and behavioral sciences. ARQOL also has its impact factor which is a clear indication that it has influence in the academic and professional communities on applied QOL issues. With these achievements, I must give a salute to the three founding editors for their great effort which has shaped the healthy and positive development of the journal.

Without them, we simply cannot have a journal that we are proud of. I must also thank the International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies for appointing me to this position. On the one hand, I felt extremely honored to be entrusted with this important task and I felt excited about the future development of the journal.

On the other hand, I felt the subtle burden because of the outstanding work of the three founding editors. Besides, consistent with the practice of many leading journals, I will seriously consider fixing the term of office of editorial members so that we will have tighter corporate governance. International perspective : As applied research on quality of life is a prime concern for people throughout the world and there are cultural variation in its manifestation, meaning and application, contributions from researchers from different parts of the world can definitely help to chart a global contour of applied QOL.

Quality of Life: Perspectives and Policies

With the rapid social and economic changes in different parts of the world, including Asia, Russia, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa and South America, it would be exciting to consider submissions by scholars in these areas. We will continue to adopt an inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary approach to address the issue of applied QOL.

Researches on Government policies and provisions are important because they affect every member of a society, although evidence-based public policies and services are still at their infancy in many parts of the world. Besides, some good practice in the business sector such as work-life balance and family friendly policies can definitely be seriously considered by the Government and non-governmental organization sectors.

Innovative initiatives on applied QOL : Many global issues are becoming more complex and persisting, such as poverty, rich-poor divide, inter-group conflict, over-population, pollution, global warming, globalization, and family disorganization. These changing global issues call for innovative perspectives, research, services and policies.

In particular, we can learn from each other in different societies and cultures. Inclusion of research based on different methodologies : In social and behavioral sciences, there has been a continued debate on the role of quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Accumulated wealth can buffer the adverse effects of temporary periods of lower income.

Income inequality in a society has repeatedly been shown to be inversely associated with good health, but there is controversy about the health effects of relative income inequality apart from the effects of absolute poverty or economic hardship Subramanian and Kawachi, Some experts view relative inequality as a factor with independent effects, which may touch the whole population, perhaps by undermining social cohesion see Chapter 7 Daniels et al.

Other research, however, challenges the premise that relative economic inequality exerts an independent effect apart from its association with absolute levels of material deprivation Beckfield, ; Deaton and Lubotsky, ; Lynch et al. There is, however, consensus about the adverse health implications of absolute material deprivation. Education and health are strongly interrelated. In , the life expectancy of year-old American men without a high school diploma was 9.

Early childhood experiences and education shape early childhood development, which in turn influences school readiness and, ultimately, educational attainment. Education can confer knowledge, problem-solving skills, and a sense of control over life circumstances. These psychosocial factors have been strongly tied to healthy behaviors Dunn, ; Pampel et al.

In most contexts, economic inequality is assumed to refer to absolute economic adversity for substantial segments of a population alongside extreme wealth for others. For example, across countries, education and smoking rates are inversely related Garrett et al. Hopelessness and powerlessness, for example, may contribute both to unhealthy behaviors and to educational and occupational setbacks, and they may link more directly to poor health through plausible physiologic mechanisms Boehm and Kubzansky, ; Downey and Van Willigen, ; Goodman et al.

Quality of Life: Perspectives and Policies - CRC Press Book

Employment shapes health in diverse ways, in part by determining employment opportunities and income World Economic Forum, Low-skilled and low-status employment is more likely to involve exposure to physical hazards, such as toxic chemicals e. Job loss, unemployment, and economic contraction have been linked with ill health and higher mortality because of psychosocial as well as economic consequences Bartley and Owen, ; McLeod et al.

See Chapter 7 for additional evidence on the health and injury risks associated with the work environment. Income, wealth, education, and employment all have implications for prestige and acceptance in society, and hence may affect health through psychosocial pathways involved in perceived position in a social hierarchy.

Lower perceived social status has been associated with adverse health outcomes in some studies even after considering objective measures of resources and social status Singh-Manoux et al. Household composition, which is strongly related to income and education, can influence social factors that in turn influence health. Poverty puts strains on families and creates a greater risk of single-parent households Center on Human Needs, a; DeNavas-Walt et al. Low-income households are often the setting for adolescent childbearing, which is more common in the United States than in other high-income countries see Chapter 2.

Adolescent motherhood affects two generations, children and mothers. Adolescent mothers are less likely than other adolescents to complete their education, and they have more restricted labor market opportunities and more disadvantaged family and household environments Ashcraft and Lang, ; Hoffman and Maynard, Their children face a greater risk of poor child care, weak maternal attachments, poverty, and other adverse conditions Baldwin and Cain, ; Card, The female children of adolescent mothers are also at increased risk of becoming adolescent mothers themselves, thus perpetuating adverse conditions over two generations Kahn and Anderson, In many countries, a variety of health outcomes vary markedly by race and ethnicity Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, ; Commission on Social Determinants of Health, These health disparities often mirror large differences in income, wealth, education, occupation, and neighborhood conditions among people of different races and ethnicities, differences that reflect a historical legacy of discrimination Acevedo-Garcia et al.

Living in a society with a high degree of racial inequality may harm the health of society at large—not only of those who experience disadvantage—in the same ways. Unfortunately, as noted below, data are lacking to compare degrees of racial inequality across high-income countries. In the United States, racial and ethnic groups that have historically experienced discrimination, 8 including blacks, Native Americans, and Hispanics, may suffer ill health effects from these experiences.

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The health effects may result both from material deprivation and other conditions that directly damage health and from physiologic mechanisms involved in reactions to stress. Such stress, which has been linked with smoking Purnell et al. Migration and associated experiences and cultural traditions have been shown to influence health and health behaviors. Almost 14 percent of the U. Although some immigrants are at higher risk of certain infectious diseases, most recent immigrants to the United States generally have favorable health profiles compared with the native-born population.

Psychological distress that arises from any of the above social factors, including from social rejection or exclusion associated with racial or ethnic identification, may lead to worse health through physiologic mechanisms involved in stress Matthews et al. Those mechanisms include the effects of stress on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal HPA axis, the sympathetic nervous system, and immune.

This form of unintentional discrimination is often referred to as structural or institutional racism, deeply rooted ways in which opportunity is differentially structured along racial or ethnic lines Smedley, These effects are thought to induce end organ damage and cardiovascular disease Barker, ; McEwen and Gianaros, While life-long stress leads to accumulated damage, early exposure to stress can affect sensitive biological processes, such as brain development, and thereby permanently disrupt stress responses later in life Gluckman and Hanson, ; Shonkoff et al.

Research increasingly confirms that health is shaped by social factors that individuals have faced across their entire life courses, not just current or recent experiences. Social disadvantage can therefore play an important contributory role to the development of chronic diseases and other conditions that threaten the health and life expectancy of adults age 50 and older, but they can also foster the health problems of early life, including many of the conditions discussed in Chapters 1 and 2.

Chronic material hardship or stressful events in childhood may also manifest their effects in mid- or even late adulthood Cohen et al. Chronic social or economic hardship during childhood has been linked with morbidity and mortality due to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases in adulthood Hertzman, ; Kuh et al. There is evidence of health consequences from experiences during critical or sensitive periods e. Over and above the influence of any particular event, the number of such events and the number of domains affected by social disadvantage can determine the health damage associated with poverty Evans and Kim, ; Sexton and Linder, Inheritance is a major route of transmission for wealth and its associated advantages.

Low social mobility—that is, the low likelihood that a person born to low-income or poorly educated parents will achieve higher. Downward social mobility has repeatedly been linked with adverse health outcomes Case and Paxson, , ; Currie and Widom, ; Delaney and Smith, Lack of upward mobility in a society could exacerbate economic and social inequality and could plausibly affect health through a range of pathways, including by shaping optimism Boehm and Kubzansky, and health-related behaviors Dehlendorf et al.

These modifications in gene expression, which are thought to occur through molecular processes such as histone modification and DNA methylation can be inherited and affect the health of offspring. Social and environmental factors may therefore influence biological outcomes through their effects on gene expression. Cross-country comparisons of social factors can be difficult because of differences in measurement, as well as the meaning of a given factor in different settings.

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Readily comparable cross-national data are not available on all relevant factors. For example, racial and ethnic disparities are important to health, but data are lacking to compare the United States with peer countries in terms of the magnitudes of racial and ethnic health disparities. Data are available, however, to examine health disparities by income, education, and other socioeconomic determinants.


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The comparative data produced by the OECD are widely considered to be the best available and are the principal source of cross-national comparisons presented here. In aggregate, socioeconomic conditions—income and wealth—in the United States are at or above average for high-income countries. Both the size of the U. However, the United States ranks poorly on the equitable distribution of economic resources, with relatively high levels of poverty and income inequality. The relative poverty rate, 10 defined as the proportion of the population with low incomes relative to the median income, has been higher in the United States than in other high-income countries since at least Luxembourg Income Study, Historically, the U.

During these same decades, many European countries instituted social welfare reforms that were designed to promote social equity and alleviate economic distress see Chapter 8 , lowering the rates of poverty in many of these countries Brady, The gap between the levels of income inequality in the United States and other rich democracies began to widen in the ss, possibly because of the adoption of more conservative economic policies in the United States and a retrenchment in public assistance programs Card and Freedman, ; Danziger and Gottschalk, ; Hanratty and Blank, Absolute poverty is a basis for comparing incomes across countries against a common benchmark such as a given level of income in U.

Analyses that have used a common data set to compare countries in terms of absolute poverty find that other countries seem to have higher rates. The use of a relative income-threshold means that richer countries have the higher poverty thresholds. See above discussion of absolute poverty as an alternate measure. This finding reflects the higher overall standard of living in the United States Smeeding, For example, in one analysis, the U.

Beginning in the s, relative poverty rates in the United States have consistently exceeded those of other high-income countries Smeeding, see Figure This difference has increased over time. By the late s, the relative poverty rate in the United States exceeded that of all 16 peer countries. As of , more than one in five Since then, the country has consistently had the highest relative child poverty rates among all rich nations OECD, e; Whiteford and Adema, see Figure One common measure of income inequality is the Gini coefficient, which ranges from 0 to 1 with larger values indicating greater inequality: the OECD average was 0.

The U. Census Bureau, which reported a Gini coefficient of 0. NOTES: Poverty rates are based on relative poverty, defined here as incomes below 50 percent of the median income of the country. Poverty rates for Switzerland were not available for certain years. Data for Portugal and Switzerland were not available for certain years. Income inequality has also risen throughout most high-income countries, but not as dramatically. However, a closer examination reveals that the nation has been losing ground for decades.

This improvement is true not only among the 17 high-income peer countries examined in Part I , but also among other countries e.

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According to the World Economic Forum , the education system of the United States ranks 26th on how well its education system meets the needs of a competitive economy. The United States does rank highly among older age groups, but the rankings are mediocre or below average among younger adults or cohorts who have been educated in more recent decades OECD, a.

As of , U. The ranking for older adults ages was even higher: U. In contrast, the United States ranked seventh in the years of schooling of young adult males ages ; the country also ranked below some countries that were outside the peer comparison group, such as Korea OECD, f. According to OECD data from the 17 peer countries, enrollment rates of children under age 3 in formal child care are also lower in the United States than in eight peer countries see Figure Figure shows that enrollment rates in educational preschool ages are also lower in the United States than in all but two peer countries OECD, j.

Comparisons with other countries indicate that Korea, as well as Mexico and most Eastern European countries, have higher rates of participation in educational preschool than the United States OECD, j.

Across all age groups in the United States, approximately 88 percent of adults have completed a secondary education the U. However, other countries including countries outside the peer group, such as those in Eastern Europe and Korea are gaining ground, and thus the U. Among adults aged , the United States ranks fourth among peer countries in the completion of secondary schooling and is now outranked by the Czech Republic, Korea OECD, a , Poland, and Slovenia. The United States also has a significant high school dropout problem, although it has declined since the s Snyder and Dillow, Expedited UK Delivery Available.

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