Human Nature

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 378–392 | Cite as

Perceived Extrinsic Mortality Risk and Reported Effort in Looking after Health

Testing a Behavioral Ecological Prediction
Article

Abstract

Socioeconomic gradients in health behavior are pervasive and well documented. Yet, there is little consensus on their causes. Behavioral ecological theory predicts that, if people of lower socioeconomic position (SEP) perceive greater personal extrinsic mortality risk than those of higher SEP, they should disinvest in their future health. We surveyed North American adults for reported effort in looking after health, perceived extrinsic and intrinsic mortality risks, and measures of SEP. We examined the relationships between these variables and found that lower subjective SEP predicted lower reported health effort. Lower subjective SEP was also associated with higher perceived extrinsic mortality risk, which in turn predicted lower reported health effort. The effect of subjective SEP on reported health effort was completely mediated by perceived extrinsic mortality risk. Our findings indicate that perceived extrinsic mortality risk may be a key factor underlying SEP gradients in motivation to invest in future health.

Keywords

Extrinsic mortality Health motivation Behavioral ecology Model Socioeconomic Perceptions 

Supplementary material

12110_2014_9204_MOESM1_ESM.xls (100 kb)
ESM 1(XLS 100 kb)

References

  1. Adams, J. (2009). Time for a change of perspective on behaviour change interventions? Addiction, 104, 1025–1026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adams, J., & Nettle, D. (2009). Time perspective, personality and smoking, body mass, and physical activity: an empirical study. British Journal of Health Psychology, 14(1), 83–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Adler, N. E., & Ostrove, J. M. (1999). Socioeconomic status and health: what we know and what we don’t. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 896, 3–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(6), 1173–1182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barr, R. G., Somers, S. C., Speizer, F. E., & Camargo, C. A. (2002). Patient factors and medication guideline adherence among older women with asthma. Archives of Internal Medicine, 162(15), 1761–1768.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Becker, M. H., Drachman, R. H., & Kirscht, J. P. (1972). Motivations as predictors of health behavior. Health Services Reports, 87(9), 852–862.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Becker, M., Maiman, L., Kirscht, J., Haefner, D. P., & Drachman, R. H. (1977). The Health Belief Model and prediction of dietary compliance: a field experiment. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 18(4), 348–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Beenstock, J., Adams, J., & White, M. (2011). The association between time perspective and alcohol consumption in university students: cross-sectional study. European Journal of Public Health, 21(4), 438–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bolte, G., Tamburlini, G., & Kohlhuber, M. (2010). Environmental inequalities among children in Europe: evaluation of scientific evidence and policy implications. European Journal of Public Health, 20(1), 14–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Boyce, W., Torsheim, T., Currie, C., & Zambon, A. (2006). The family affluence scale as a measure of national wealth: validation of an adolescent self-report measure. Social Indicators Research, 78(3), 473–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Buck, D., & Frosini, F. (2012). Clustering of unhealthy behaviours over time: Implications for policy and practice. The King’s Fund. Available online at http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/sites/files/kf/field/field_publication_file/clustering-of-unhealthy-behaviours-over-time-aug-2012.pdf
  12. Chandola, T. (2001). The fear of crime and area differences in health. Health & Place, 7(2), 105–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chisholm, J. S., Ellison, P. T., Evans, J., Lee, P. C. C., Lieberman, L. S., Pavlik, Z., & Worthman, C. M. (1993). Death, hope, and sex: life-history theory and the development of reproductive strategies. Current Anthropology, 34(1), 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Crimmins, E. M., & Saito, Y. (2001). Trends in healthy life expectancy in the United States, 1970–1990: gender, racial, and educational differences. Social Science & Medicine, 52(11), 1629–1641.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cutler, D. M., & Lleras-Muney, A. (2010). Understanding differences in health behaviors by education. Journal of Health Economics, 29(1), 1–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Darmon, N., & Drewnowski, A. (2008). Does social class predict diet quality? American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 87, 1107–1117.Google Scholar
  17. Dunkel, C., Mathes, E., & Decker, M. (2010). Behavioral flexibility in life history strategies: The role of life expectancy. Journal of Social, Evolutionary and Cultural Psychology, 4(2), 51–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Friestad, C., & Klepp, K.-I. (2006). Socioeconomic status and health behaviour patterns through adolescence: results from a prospective cohort study in Norway. European Journal of Public Health, 16(1), 41–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Goldman, D. P., & Smith, J. P. (2002). Can patient self-management help explain the SES health gradient? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 99(16), 10929–10934.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Griskevicius, V., Tybur, J. M., Delton, A. W., & Robertson, T. E. (2011). The influence of mortality and socioeconomic status on risk and delayed rewards: A life history theory approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100(6), 1015–1026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Haisley, E., Mostafa, R., & Loewenstein, G. (2008). Subjective relative income and lottery ticket purchases. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 21, 283–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Halleröd, B., & Gustafsson, J.-E. (2011). A longitudinal analysis of the relationship between changes in socio-economic status and changes in health. Social Science & Medicine (1982), 72(1), 116–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hanson, M. D., & Chen, E. (2007). Socioeconomic status and health behaviors in adolescence: a review of the literature. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 30(3), 263–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Harrell, J., Bangdiwala, S., Deng, S., Webb, J., & Bradley, C. (1998). Smoking initiation in youth: the roles of gender, race, socioeconomics, and developmental status. Journal of Adolescent Health, 23, 271–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Harvey, P. H., & Zammuto, R. M. (1985). Patterns of mortality and age at first reproduction in natural populations of mammals. Nature, 315, 319–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hill, E., Jenkins, J., & Farmer, L. (2008). Family unpredictability, future discounting, and risk taking. Journal of Socio-Economics, 37, 1381–1396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kotz, D., & West, R. (2009). Explaining the social gradient in smoking cessation: it’s not in the trying, but in the succeeding. Tobacco Control, 18(1), 43–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kruger, D. J., Reischl, T., & Zimmerman, M. A. (2008). Time perspective as a mechanism for functional developmental adaptation. Journal of Social, Evolutionary and Cultural Psychology, 2(1), 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Krupp, D. B. (2012). Marital, reproductive, and educational behaviors covary with life expectancy. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41(6), 1409–1414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lawson, D. W., & Mace, R. (2011). Parental investment and the optimization of human family size. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, B: Biological Sciences, 366(1563), 333–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Layte, R., & Whelan, C. T. (2009). Explaining social class inequalities in smoking: the role of education, self-efficacy, and deprivation. European Sociological Review, 25(4), 399–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Li, J.-Z., Gui, D.-Y., Feng, C.-L., Wang, W.-Z., Du, B.-Q., Gan, T., & Luo, Y.-J. (2012). Victims’ time discounting 2.5 years after the Wenchuan earthquake: An ERP study. PloS One, 7(7), e40316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Liao, Y., McGee, D. L., Kaufman, J. S., Cao, G., & Cooper, R. S. (1999). Socioeconomic status and morbidity in the last years of life. American Journal of Public Health, 89(4), 569–572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Low, B. S., Hazel, A., Parker, N., & Welch, K. B. (2008). Influences on women’s reproductive lives: unexpected ecological underpinnings. Cross-Cultural Research, 42(3), 201–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. McLaren, L. (2007). Socioeconomic status and obesity. Epidemiologic Reviews, 29, 29–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Medawar, P. B. (1952). An unsolved problem of biology. London: Lewis.Google Scholar
  37. Melchior, M., Choquet, M., Le Strat, Y., Hassler, C., & Gorwood, P. (2011). Parental alcohol dependence, socioeconomic disadvantage and alcohol and cannabis dependence among young adults in the community. European Psychiatry, 26(1), 13–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mirotznik, J., Feldman, L., & Stein, R. (1995). The health belief model and adherence with a community center-based, supervised coronary heart disease exercise program. Journal of Community Health, 20(3), 233–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mirotznik, J., Ginzler, E., Zagon, G., & Baptiste, A. (1998). Using the health belief model to explain clinic appointment-keeping for the management of a chronic disease condition. Journal of Community Health, 23(3), 195–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mokdad, A. H., Marks, J. S., Stroup, D. F., & Gerberding, J. L. (2004). Actual causes of death in the United States. Journal of the American Medical Association, 291(10), 1238–1245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Moore, J., Stinson, L. L., & Welniak, E. J. (2000). Income measurement error in surveys: A review. Journal of Official Statistics, (June), 1–34Google Scholar
  42. Nettle, D. (2010). Why are there social gradients in preventative health behavior? A perspective from behavioral ecology. PloS One, 5(10), 6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nettle, D. (2011). Flexibility in reproductive timing in human females: integrating ultimate and proximate explanations. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, B: Biological Sciences, 366(1563), 357–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Nettle, D., Coall, D. A., & Dickins, T. E. (2011). Early-life conditions and age at first pregnancy in British women. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 278, 1721–1727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pampel, F. C., Krueger, P., & Denney, J. (2010). Socioeconomic disparities in health behaviors. Annual Review of Sociology, 36, 349–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Pepper, G. V., & Nettle, D. (2013). Death and the time of your life: experiences of close bereavement are associated with steeper financial future discounting and earlier reproduction. Evolution and Human Behavior, 34(6), 434–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pepper, G. V., & Nettle, D. (2014). Socioeconomic disparities in health behaviour: An evolutionary perspective. In D. W. Lawson & M. Gibson (Eds.), Applied evolutionary anthropology: Darwinian approaches to contemporary world issues (pp. 225–244). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Phelan, J. C., Link, B. G., & Tehranifar, P. (2010). Social conditions as fundamental causes of health inequalities: theory, evidence, and policy implications. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 51(suppl), S28–S40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2004). SPSS and SAS procedures for estimating indirect effects in simple mediation models. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 36(4), 717–731.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Pridemore, W. A., Tomkins, S., Eckhardt, K., Kiryanov, N., & Saburova, L. (2010). A case–control analysis of socio-economic and marital status differentials in alcohol- and non-alcohol-related mortality among working-age Russian males. European Journal of Public Health, 20(5), 569–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Quinlan, R. J. (2010). Extrinsic mortality effects on reproductive strategies in a Caribbean community. Human Nature, 21(2), 124–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Ramos, D., Victor, T., Seidl-de-Moura, M. L., & Daly, M. (2013). Future discounting by slum-dwelling youth versus university students in Rio de Janeiro. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 23(1), 95–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Siahpush, M., McNeill, A., Hammond, D., & Fong, G. T. (2006). Socioeconomic and country variations in knowledge of health risks of tobacco smoking and toxic constituents of smoke: results from the 2002 International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey. Tobacco Control, 15(Suppl. 3), 65–70.Google Scholar
  54. Soskolne, V., & Mano, O. (2010). Health inequalities in Israel: Explanatory factors of socio-economic inequalities in self-rated health and limiting longstanding illness. Health & Place, 16(2), 242–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Stafford, M., Chandola, T., & Marmot, M. (2007). Association between fear of crime and mental health and physical functioning. American Journal of Public Health, 97(11), 2076–2081.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Stearns, S. C. (1992). The evolution of life histories. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  57. Stringhini, S., Sabia, S., Shipley, M., Brunner, E., Nabi, H., Kivimaki, M., & Singh-Manoux, A. (2010). Association of socioeconomic position with health behaviors and mortality. Journal of the American Medical Association, 303(12), 1159–1166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Stroebe, M., Schut, H., & Stroebe, W. (2007). Health outcomes of bereavement. Lancet, 370(9603), 1960–1973.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Wardle, J., & Steptoe, A. (2003). Socioeconomic differences in attitudes and beliefs about healthy lifestyles. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 57(6), 440–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Wardle, J., Waller, J., & Jarvis, M. J. (2002). Sex differences in the association of socioeconomic status with obesity. American Journal of Public Health, 92(8), 1299–1304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. White, M., Adams, J., & Heywood, P. (2009). How and why do interventions that increase health overall widen inequalities within populations? In S. J. Babones (Ed.), Social inequality and public health (pp. 65–81). Bristol: The Policy Press.Google Scholar
  62. Wilkinson, R. G. (1992). Income distribution and life expectancy. British Medical Journal, 304, 165–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Williams, G. C. (1957). Pleiotropy, natural selection, and the evolution of senescence. Evolution, 11(December), 398–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wilson, M., & Daly, M. (1997). Life expectancy, economic inequality, homicide, and reproductive timing in Chicago neighbourhoods. British Medical Journal, 314(7089), 1271–1274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Winkler, E., Turrell, G., & Patterson, C. (2006). Does living in a disadvantaged area mean fewer opportunities to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables in the area? Findings from the Brisbane food study. Health & Place, 12(3), 306–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Behaviour and EvolutionNewcastle UniversityNewcastle Upon TyneUK

Personalised recommendations