Constrained choices: Combined influences of work, social circumstances, and social location on time-dependent health behaviors

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Abstract

Background: Physical activity and sleep are two time-dependent behaviors with important health implications. The amount of time people have to engage in these behaviors may vary based on their everyday work, social circumstances (e.g., parenthood), and social location (e.g., gender). Aims: The current study aimed to explore the ways work, social circumstances, and social locations combine that lead to heterogeneity in the time-dependent health behaviors of physical activity and time spent in bed (i.e., sleep) among a young adult population. We drew upon two conceptual frameworks—Constrained Choices and an intersectionality perspective—and examined multiple work characteristics (e.g., number of jobs), social circumstances (e.g., household income), and social locations (e.g., U.S. nativity) relevant to young adulthood. Methods: 2015–2016 data from a Minneapolis-St. Paul, U.S. cohort of 1830 young adults (25–36 years) were analyzed using conditional inference tree (CIT)—a data-driven approach which identifies population sub-groups that differ in their outcome values as well as in the interacting factors that predict outcome differences. Sensitivity analyses to evaluate CIT robustness were also performed. Results: CITs revealed four relevant sub-groups for physical activity (sub-group averages ranged = 2.9–4.9 h per week), with working mothers achieving the least activity, and six relevant sub-groups for time in bed (range = 7.8–8.7 h per day), with full-time working men obtaining the least. In both models, parent status and employment status/hours were found to consistently differentiate behavior among women but not men. Conclusion: According to these data, time to engage in physical activity and time in bed was constrained by particular everyday contexts (work and parent status) and the extent to which these contexts mattered also depended on gender. If replicated in other studies, results suggest equitable strategies are necessary to assist all parents and workers in engaging in these time-dependent health behaviors for long-term health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100562
JournalSSM - Population Health
Volume11
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Data collection for the study was supported by grant number R01HL116892 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Telke and Neumark-Sztainer's effort to conduct and describe the analysis reported within this manuscript was supported by Grant Number R35HL139853 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Winkler's effort was supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, grant number T32DK083250 and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, grant number K99HL144824. Crane's effort was supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, grant number K01DK119457. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Funding Information:
Data collection for the study was supported by grant number R01HL116892 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . Telke and Neumark-Sztainer's effort to conduct and describe the analysis reported within this manuscript was supported by Grant Number R35HL139853 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . Winkler's effort was supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases , grant number T32DK083250 and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute , grant number K99HL144824 . Crane's effort was supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases , grant number K01DK119457 . The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors

Keywords

  • Employment
  • Family characteristic
  • Gender
  • Health behavior
  • Population health
  • U.S.
  • Young adulthood

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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