Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 17, pp 12951–12959 | Cite as

Urinary parabens and polyaromatic hydrocarbons independent of health conditions are associated with adult emotional support needs: USA NHANES, 2005–2008

  • Ivy ShiueEmail author
Research Article


Everyone needs emotional support at some point in life, but the needs might not always be met. The present study was aimed to investigate the prevalence of unmet needs of emotional support in adults and to identify social, environmental and health attributes in a national and population-based setting in recent years. Data was retrieved from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 2005–2008, including demographics, blood pressure readings, self-reported emotional support needs in the last 12 months, self-reported ever health conditions and urinary environmental chemical concentrations. Statistical analyses included chi-square test, t test, survey-weighted logistic regression modeling and population attributable risk (PAR) estimation. Of 6733 American adults aged 40–80, 1273 (21.0 %) needed more emotional support in the past year. They tended to be aged 40–60, female, Mexican American, other Hispanic, education less than high school, or poverty income ratio 5+. People with higher levels of butyl paraben, ethyl paraben, methyl paraben, 1-hydroxynaphthalene, 2-hydroxynaphthalene, or 9-hydroxyfluorene (but not heavy metals, arsenic, phenols, phthalates, pesticides, or phytoestrogens) or historical diabetes, asthma, arthritis, stroke, thyroid disorder, chronic bronchitis, sleep complaint/disorder, or trouble seeing needed more emotional support. Significant risk associations from environmental chemicals mentioned above have remained after adjusting for historical health conditions as potential mediators. This is the first time examining prevalence of the unmet emotional support in adults and identifying the social, environmental and health attributes. Removal of parabens and polyaromatic hydrocarbons and increasing healthcare for people with health conditions to accommodate emotional support should be considered.


Paraben Hydrocarbon Chemicals Social support Emotion 



IS is supported by the Global Platform for Research Leaders scheme.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure & SocietyHeriot-Watt UniversityEdinburghUK
  2. 2.Owens Institute for Behavioral ResearchUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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