Psychology, Department of


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Wolfe, R.M.; Beck-Felts, K.; Speakar, B.; Spaulding,W.D. Domains of Vulnerability, Resilience, Health Habits, and Mental and Physical Health for Health Disparities Research. Behav. Sci. 2022, 12, 240. bs12070240


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Health disparities associated with severe mental illness (SMI) have become a major public health concern. The disparities are not directly due to the SMI. They involve the same leading causes of premature death as in the general population. The causes of the disparities are therefore suspected to reflect differences in health-related behavior and resilience. As with other problems associated with SMI, studying non-clinical populations at risk for future onset provides important clues about pathways, from vulnerability to unhealthy behavior and compromised resilience, to poor health and reduced quality of life. The purpose of this study was to identify possible pathways in a sample of public university students. Four domains of biosystemic functioning with a priori relevance to SMI-related vulnerability and health disparities were identified. Measures reflecting various well-studied constructs within each domain were factor-analyzed to identify common sources of variance within the domains. Relationships between factors in adjacent domains were identified with linear multiple regression. The results reveal strong relationships between common factors across domains that are consistent with pathways from vulnerability to health disparities, to reduced quality of life. Although the results do not provide dispositive evidence of causal pathways, they serve as a guide for further, larger-scale, longitudinal studies to identify causal processes and the pathways they follow to health consequences.

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