Category Archives: Stats

2016 When Everything Turns Up Roses

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Hey y’all. I hope this finds you well. If not, I hope you feel a little better after reading. Why? Because you deserve to feel great. I know it sounds cheesy, but once you start telling yourself what you deserve, you start feeling better. Now this may get a little bumpy as I tend to go all over the place(just like my writing, and another reason why revision is a great thing, not something to fear or hate).

First things first, this semester is going awesome. Like I totally turned things around in Stats(and each class session is even more awesome). For instance, last week we began a conversation about multilevel modeling and I am telling you it was like poetry. Pure mathematical poetry. Every day I realize that I love math(a lot).

Second, I got an awesome job. Like it is so awesome that I still can’t believe it. I just can’t believe that I have this opportunity. The people that I work with are great. I get to work on real world projects. I am in a good space.

Third, every single conference that I submitted to, I was accepted. I still can’t believe that people want to hear about my work and what I have to say. So, a lot of people are proud of me and I have been given permission to be proud of myself. I am. I am.

Fourth, everything is working out wonderfully, so for the first time in a long, long time, I have no drama. Yep, you read that right, no major drama in my life(or the dancery quoting MJBlige). What does this mean? It means that I have a lot of time to make up my own internal drama(filled with over thinking and wondering where Prince Charming is). But I have an amazing support group who nudges me and jostles me out of the drama cloud and I am on my merry way again.

So, I plan on doing a better job of writing on here. So, be ready for a bunch of stuff because I have a lot to talk about(or be ready for a little bit of stuff because I might get busy lol). Who knows, let’s just be optimistic and hope for the best.

I am hoping for the best in all things. Even though I am turning that big scary 3-5 in a few months, I am going to be optimistic. Even though it seems as if Prince Charming lost all of my contact info, I am going to be optimistic. Even though there are a million things that I cannot change, I am going to be optimistic. Because really at the end of the day, I have no other choice.

Peace, love, and light y’all 🙂

 

2016 Gratitude

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    Hey y’all! I just wanted to post some good stuff. With all that is going on in the world, I don’t think positive vibes hurt anything.
In line with the year of yes, I accepted a super cool job. My family is proud of me. My friends want me around. I am doing well in my classes.
     I know that doesn’t sound much but it means a lot to me.     No I haven’t met the great love of my life yet but I still manage to smile at the world. I’m trying to be the change that I want to see in the world and on most days, I think I’m on the right track.
    It seems like everyday I have an epiphany about something and I’m humbled. I know that my journey is only through the help and strength of a ton of angels on Earth.
    I got to hear my sponsor’s experience, strength, and hope tonight and I know that God blessed me with her awesome example of living life on life’s terms. I have had the opportunity to hear so much wisdom from my professors and I’m blessed to learn from them.
    So I’m just a bundle of gratitude because when we talk about the promises, I know that I didn’t envision anything that even remotely looks like my life today.
   I’m grateful for you taking the time to read my roller coaster of a blog.
Thank you!

2016 The Year Of Being Open To Life

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Hey blog readers and viewers. I hope you are having a great new year so far. I know I am. I told God and the universe that I wanted to be open and a lot of good things have come my way.
     I had two interesting job interviews this week. I hope to hear a good word soon. Classes started back in my doctoral program. I don’t think I have been more excited about a semester. Anxiety aside, things are looking up. People are showing interest in my research. I’m getting amazing feedback and that’s great fuel to keep writing.
     I renewed my gym membership so now I have to go. I’m going swimming tomorrow. I have been getting in some good workouts.
     I met someone. I know it’s early but it is so interesting. We are getting to know each other. We spend time talking. He seems to be into me. Which is surprising. I already laid down the law. He knows where I stand. So even though things feel great, I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop. I think he is intrigued because I’m not looking to hookup. I’m also very honest.
     We are using SAS this semester and I had to get another laptop and amazingly found one for just my price and all I need. I’m calling it an early birthday/dissertation gift.
     I feel like I’m in a really good place at the moment and that’s great. One funny thing is that now that I found someone to be interested in, all of these other people that I was interested in before have all made a point to reach out to me. One day I was thinking about how many guys may still have my number in their phones. I know that’s an odd thought.
     But whatever happens, it’s nice to have someone to think fondly of and know that someone is thinking about me too.
Well I better try and get some sleep.
May your tomorrow bring even more joy than today 🙂

Reaction-Education

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When discussing mortality differences in the United States, one factor that is mentioned is the effect of educational attainment (Brown et al. 2012; Denney et al. 2010; Hummer et al. 2011; Masters et al. 2012; Miech et al. 2011; Montez et al. 2012; Rogers et al. 2010). Educational attainment is often linked to a variety of aspects of the life course experience (Denney et al. 2010, Brown et al. 2012). There continues to be discussion regarding how much influence educational attainment has on mortality and at what point educational attainment has a stronger role in mortality versus other factors in a person’s life (Denney et al. 2010; Montez et al. 2012). The purpose of this response paper is to discuss the impact of educational attainment on mortality as an explanation for disparities. This is important in order to get a clearer picture of the relationship between educational attainment and mortality (Brown et al. 2012, Miech et al. 2011). Educational attainment is important to measure because it highlights increasing educational inequality. Educational attainment provides a picture of overall social standing when measuring socioeconomic determinants (Brown et al. 2012; Hummer et al. 2011; Montez et al. 2012). The impact of educational inequality on mortality continues to be critical in the discussion of health in the United States particularly when we talk about underserved populations. Educational attainment is often looked upon as one of the great equalizers in modern society. As a result, educational attainment will continue to be an area of research in the study of mortality differentials.
Although preventative programs and initiatives are promoted and implemented that seek to reduce inequality and mortality in low socioeconomic groups, research showed that educational attainment continued to persist (Miech et al. 2011; Everett et al. 2013). As a result, to help explain the causal mechanisms, Link and Phelan’s theory of fundamental causes was implemented in order to provide a more comprehensive explanation for these inequalities. Research also showed that educational attainment affects critical aspects of life such as health outcomes, potential earnings, and even social standing (Everett et al 2013; Masters et al. 2012). Much of the research on educational attainment and adult mortality in the U.S. has focused on the Non-Hispanic White and Non-Hispanic Black populations (Montez et al. 2012; Masters et al. 2012). When looking at mortality, the research provides insight into the reason for viewing mortality from a comprehensive framework. This is also one reason why Link and Phelan’s fundamental cause theory can be applied to any group regardless of race (Miech et al. 2011; Everett et al. 2013).
Many of the studies on educational attainment and mortality in the U.S. focus on adult mortality (Denney et al. 2010; Masters et al. 2012; Montez et al. 2012). There could also be benefit to looking at other age cohorts in order to have a better picture of young adults and early stage adulthood. This would provide insight into the health risks for younger ages and could also help to inform health and education policy that would be beneficial for younger ages.
Although much of the research on educational attainment and U.S. adult mortality highlights worse health outcomes for those with less education(less than a HS diploma), this research does not indicate the life experiences that these cohorts lived through which impacted their ability to obtain more education (Montez et al. 2012; Rogers et al. 2010; Everett et al. 2013). By looking solely at education attainment, the research indicates that policy is needed in order to reduce these dispairities. When discussing educational inequality, many of the studies mention that disparities often lead to new health outcomes (Denney et al. 2010; Everett et al. 2013). Looking at earlier cohorts would indicate new issues that have not been seen by previous cohorts (increase in war, increase in poverty, and increase in lack of health insurance, increase in poor living environments). When looking at the impact of these other factors on educational attainment or lack of educational attainment, this will include a better understanding of the significance of certain health outcomes over others.
Previous research indicating the impact of educational attainment on mortality is not surprising, the widening inequalities along the line of educational attainment continue to be (Rogers et al 2010, Masters et al. 2012; Miech et al. 2011). Addressing the issues associated with educational inequality requires addressing economic inequality along with opportunity and access (Denney et al. 2010). Much of the research alludes to these factors influencing health but an argument can be made that these inequalities are presented before birth for younger cohorts and as a result, when addressed effectively can bring about a lessening of the educational inequality that so many populations who lack access can benefit from. When pathways to inequality are filled with resources to remove the stark deficit of need for at risk populations, there will be a greater propensity for improved health outcomes. This may also reduce the variety of poor health outcomes.

Reactions-SES

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There is continued discussion regarding socioeconomic status and the role it plays in mortality differentials in the United States (Bond Huie et al. 2003; Elo 2009; Geruso 2012; Link et al. 1995, 2002; Phelan et al. 2010). The role of socioeconomic status on mortality differentials between White and Non-Hispanic Black populations in the United States continues to be a cause of concern for researchers (Bond Huie et al. 2003; Geruso 2012). The purpose of this response paper is to highlight the continued impact of socioeconomic status on mortality. By acknowledging the increasing role that socioeconomic status contributes to mortality, new insight can help to inform future research and aid in reducing mortality effects for low-socioeconomic status groups.
Socioeconomic status influences all aspects of life including mortality (Elo 2009; Link et al. 2002; Phelan et al. 2010). Low socioeconomic status is attributed to higher likelihood of illness and higher mortality rates (Bond Huie et al. 2003; Elo 2009; Geruso 2012). Low socioeconomic status has less of a protective factor for individuals who may already be at risk for certain diseases. While McKeown’s theory asserts that the improvements in health throughout populations were due to changes in economic and social conditions rather than other known causes was discredited (Bruce et al.2002; Geruso 2012), the causes have been proven to be a number of processes which include social conditions (Bruce et al. 2002; Link and Phelan 1995). The inequalities in socioeconomic conditions are exacerbated by widening inequality in public health.
As a result of continued inequality in public health, socioeconomic disparities have been shown to be an issue for numerous populations as early as the nineteenth century (Antonovsky 1967; Bruce et al. 2002; Bond Huie et al. 2003). Looking at the continued widening gaps in socioeconomic conditions today is an indication that more needs to be done in order to create and promote solutions that have the potential to diminish these conditions and would result in better health outcomes across populations. These outcomes have persisted while the conditions have continued to decline throughout the years.
Researchers have also sought to find the underlying causes of socioeconomic disparities (Link and Phelan 1995; Phelan et al. 2010). Elo (2009) mentions that there are still unclear ideas regarding the determination of these underlying causes and the point in which they begin to affect a person’s health outcomes. Looking at the historical research that identifies various factors in early life gives an indication that a person’s socioeconomic status and related health outcomes are influenced by their family and all of the various parts of life that the role of family impacts(where you live, wealth, education, what you eat). These discrepancies continue to be larger for those who fall into the lower socioeconomic status. The continued gap would indicate that those with higher socioeconomic status form a foundation for future generations that will enable them to continue to have higher socioeconomic status (Elo 2009). This also indicates that more intervention will be needed at the early stages of life for those in low socioeconomic status in order to help improve their health outcomes throughout their lifespan. In order for policies and interventions related to health outcomes for low socioeconomic groups to be effective, the stance taken by policymakers has to be from a contextual standpoint instead of the status quo individual lens (Link and Phelan 1995). This is one reason why such disparities in relation to socioeconomic status continue to persist because if the collective view is of issues being a concern for the individual, there will continue to be less preventative measures taken collectively as a result of having a collective idea that it is up to the individual to solve an individual problem.
The areas in which socioeconomic status influences health policy often correlates to those who have higher socioeconomic status. Those with poor socioeconomic status are not necessarily lacking in education about their own health, they are often lacking the resources, like fluid income, to afford the services needed to not only prevent poor health outcomes but also to have needs met for health emergencies that those with higher socioeconomic status often do not have to handle as a result of already having the resources to prevent these issues (Bond-Huie et al. 2003; Krueger et al. 2003). This is particularly true in the case of those populations that are at risk for premature mortality outcomes. This is especially the case for Non-Hispanic Blacks, who have higher rates of premature mortality in both males and females. This is evident when we consider wealth disparities and race when discussing premature mortality outcomes. Non-Hispanic Blacks are found to have higher gaps in wealth compared to Non-Hispanic Whites. These findings are similar to those found by Geruso (2012). Even when noting limitations in their findings, Bond-Huie and colleagues (2003) mention that their findings likely reflect a true relationship to the population.
Even if we hold to the idea that socioeconomic status disparities will always be a factor in the population, there are policies and programs that can be created in order to help eliminate the drastic outcomes that are a result of these discrepancies (Link and Phelan 1995; Phelan et al. 2010; Bond Huie et al. 2003). These policies can be in the areas of education, occupation, nutrition, etc. It may take time in order to see significant changes but the attempt would be an improvement for the population as a whole. These changes would need to apply not only to individuals but to structures as well in order to serve as a buffer to the extreme outcomes that are currently seen. The motivation for health promotion and preventative measures will be required to flow from a collective problem solving framework versus a pathological framework that is often individualistic in nature. Until then we must continue to do the research needed to inform these changes that includes diverse samples and new ways of looking at previous research in order to reduce limitations and get a greater picture of what is required in order to inhibit growth.

Sullivan (2010) Mortality Differentials and Religion in the United States: Religious Affiliation and Attendance

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There are a number of mortality differentials in the United States. One differential that is of interest is the relationship between religion and mortality in adults. A number of large datasets that are collected do not include religious affiliation. This focus on research has been conducted throughout Europe.
Sullivan used The Health and Retirement Study(HRS) which includes information on religious affiliation, religious activity, and various health risks for Americans age 50 years and older. The HRS is a longitudinal panel study. The sample included a variety of religious affiliation (largely Catholic, Mainline Protestant, and Evangelical Protestant) and also those who were not religiously affiliated. The results of the study included gaps of at least six or more years of life expectancy difference between the groups in the sample.
The participants in the sample that were affiliated with the Jewish faith reported the highest life expectancy rate. Black Protestants reported the lowest life expectancy rate. A variety of mechanisms can be used to explain the differences between groups in relation to mortality and religion. One possible explanation for the differences in mortality and religion is health behaviors. Some religious denomination place a larger focus on health and wellness as being a central part of the faith practice. There are marked differences in SES levels and religious affiliation. This may be another factor that influences the relationship between mortality and religion. Religious attendance is linked to psychological aspects of life. Religious attendance also increases social networking for those who participate. The analysis tested three hypotheses. The results of the study indicated that even when controlled for SES conditions, Black Protestants faced higher mortality rates than other Mainline Protestants included in the sample. Black Protestants were found to have the lowest life expectancy rates of all other religious affiliated persons in the sample including those who were not religiously affiliated.
Some limitations to the study include broad findings that may not translate to the actual determinants that may be driving the relationship between mortality and religion for certain religious affiliations. The sample did not include other religious faith traditions such as Islam or Greek Orthodox. The lack of cultural diversity may also be seen as a limitation to the research.
Questions:
1. What do the findings add to the discussion of Black mortality rates compared to other/race ethnicity groups?
2. What would the results have indicated if the sample included persons who were not affiliated with Western religions?
3. How do the results of the non-religious affiliated persons in the sample help to inform future research?

What My Anxiety Looks Like

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    Hey blog readers,
                                   I looked at my stats and I think people were wondering if when I posted The End, that I was talking about suicide. Well, to reassure you, no I wasn’t talking or thinking about it. I actually haven’t wanted to commit suicide for years. I share a lot of suicide prevention info on my social media as a resource.
     One thing that you may not know about me is the fact that I am a very anxious person. I think I was born anxious. When I was a kid my Mom called me a worry wart. Most of the time I worried about everything around me. Even today, I have moments where anxiety gets the best of me.
     Sometimes I try to ignore it but it just courses through me like a river. Other times it is faint like a whisper. I worry about things that matter, things that don’t. Things in the past,present, and future. Sometimes I worry about one thing at a time and other times I worry about a million things.
    I think running,exercise, and a schedule really helps. I also spend a lot of time to myself. My brain never stops running. I told my therapist that my feet move forward but my brain cycles past,present, and future all at the same time. My body will get exhausted but my brain won’t.
I also have insomnia. So I have perfected the art of sleeping on four hours.
     I emailed my ex friend but no word. I called and left a voicemail. I’m a selfish needy person and that doesn’t make for a good friend. I’m sarcastic, bitter, and mean and now I understand why people don’t want me in their lives.
     My whole life I only wanted to fit in and I never could. I have gone through some horrific events and while I know that I need people in my life, I’m not the best at boundaries. That’s one reason why I’m single. I’m a nightmare.
    So the only thing I’m really good at is school except when I don’t do well at something. I’m also a perfectionist so not only do I have to figure out all of my mistakes right now, I have to get them right. So I’m sitting in this fear bubble about stats because I have to do all of this right now.
      Most days I take it one day at a time and others, it just spills over.
So there, be thankful that you are doing way better than me.
Shalom
Namaste