Institute for Scientific Analysis

Saint Helena, CA, United States

Institute for Scientific Analysis

Saint Helena, CA, United States
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Zhao J.,University of Victoria | Stockwell T.,University of Victoria | Stockwell T.,Curtin University Australia | Roemer A.,University of Victoria | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs | Year: 2017

Objective: Previous meta-analyses estimate that low-volume alcohol consumption protects against coronary heart disease (CHD). Potential errors in studies include systematic misclassifica-tion of drinkers as abstainers, inadequate measurement, and selection bias across the life course. Method: Prospective studies of alcohol consumption and CHD mortality were identified in scholarly databases and reference lists. Studies were coded for potential abstainer biases and other study characteristics. The alcohol–CHD risk relationship was estimated in mixed models with controls for potential biases. Stratified analyses were performed based on variables identified as potential effect modifiers. Results: Fully adjusted meta-analysis of all 45 studies found significantly reduced CHD mortality for current low-volume drinkers (relative risk [RR] = 0.80, 95% CI [0.69, 0.93]) and all current drinkers (RR = 0.88, 95% CI [0.78, 0.99]). There was evidence of effect modification by cohort age, gender, ethnicity, and heart health at baseline. In stratified analyses, low-volume consumption was not significantly protective for cohorts ages 55 years or younger at baseline (RR = 0.95, 95% CI [0.75, 1.21]), for studies controlling for heart health (RR = 0.87, 95% CI [0.71, 1.06]), or for higher quality studies (RR = 0.86, 95% CI [0.68, 1.09]). In studies in which the mean age was 55 years or younger at baseline, there were significantly increased RRs for both former (RR = 1.45, 95% CI [1.08, 1.95]) and occasional drinkers (RR = 1.44, 95% CI [1.09, 1.89]) compared with abstainers. Conclusions: Pooled analysis of all identified studies suggested an association between alcohol use and reduced CHD risk. However, this association was not observed in studies of those age 55 years or younger at baseline, in higher quality studies, or in studies that controlled for heart health. The appearance of cardio-protection among older people may reflect systematic selection biases that accumulate over the life course. © 2017, Alcohol Research Documentation Inc. All rights reserved.

Antin T.M.J.,Prevention Research Center | Hunt G.,Institute for Scientific Analysis
Critical Public Health | Year: 2013

Since the turn of the century, obesity has emerged in the public consciousness as an important public health concern. While the illnesses considered to be associated with obesity are pressing, related individual-level interventions may not be sufficient and may also stigmatize overweight and obese individuals as deficient. Weight-related stigma has a more significant impact on body image for women than men, though the majority of research on African American women suggests that they are culturally protected from body weight dissatisfaction. This article reports on the analysis of 20 interviews with African American women to help elucidate the complicated narratives of body image in women's lives. Implications for obesity and body image research are discussed. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Stockwell T.,University of Victoria | Stockwell T.,Curtin University Australia | Zhao J.,University of Victoria | Panwar S.,Institute for Scientific Analysis | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs | Year: 2016

Objective: Previous meta-analyses of cohort studies indicate a J-shaped relationship between alcohol consumption and allcause mortality, with reduced risk for low-volume drinkers. However, low-volume drinkers may appear healthy only because the “abstainers” with whom they are compared are biased toward ill health. The purpose of this study was to determine whether misclassifying former and occasional drinkers as abstainers and other potentially confounding study characteristics underlie observed positive health outcomes for lowvolume drinkers in prospective studies of all-cause mortality. Method: A systematic review and meta-regression analysis of studies investigating alcohol use and mortality risk after controlling for quality-related study characteristics was conducted in a population of 3,998,626 individuals, among whom 367,103 deaths were recorded. Results: Without adjustment, meta-analysis of all 87 included studies replicated the classic J-shaped curve, with low-volume drinkers (1.3–24.9 g ethanol per day) having reduced mortality risk (RR = 0.86, 95% CI [0.83, 0.90]). Occasional drinkers (<1.3 g per day) had similar mortality risk (RR = 0.84, 95% CI [0.79, 0.89]), and former drinkers had elevated risk (RR = 1.22, 95% CI [1.14, 1.31]). After adjustment for abstainer biases and quality-related study characteristics, no significant reduction in mortality risk was observed for low-volume drinkers (RR = 0.97, 95% CI [0.88, 1.07]). Analyses of higher-quality bias-free studies also failed to find reduced mortality risk for low-volume alcohol drinkers. Risk estimates for occasional drinkers were similar to those for low- and medium-volume drinkers. Conclusions: Estimates of mortality risk from alcohol are significantly altered by study design and characteristics. Meta-analyses adjusting for these factors find that low-volume alcohol consumption has no net mortality benefit compared with lifetime abstention or occasional drinking. These findings have implications for public policy, the formulation of low-risk drinking guidelines, and future research on alcohol and health. © 2016, Alcohol Research Documentation Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Hunt G.,Institute for Scientific Analysis | Hunt G.,University of Aarhus | Moloney M.,Institute for Scientific Analysis | Fazio A.,Institute for Scientific Analysis
Substance Use and Misuse | Year: 2014

In recent years, there has been increasing concern about youthful "binge" drinking and intoxication. Yet the meaning of intoxication remains under-theorized. This paper examines intoxication in a young adult nightlife scene, using data from a 2005-2008 National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded project on Asian American youth and nightlife. Analyzing in-depth qualitative interview data with 250 Asian American young adults in the San Francisco area, we examine their narratives about alcohol intoxication with respect to sociability, stress, and fun, and their navigation of the fine line between being "buzzed" and being "wasted." Finally, limitations of the study and directions for future research are noted. Copyright © 2014 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc.

Moloney M.,Institute for Scientific Analysis | Hunt G.P.,Institute for Scientific Analysis
Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy | Year: 2012

Based on 250 qualitative interviews with Asian American young men and women in the dance/club scenes in the San Francisco area, we examine the interplay between consumption, style and taste cultures with issues of ethnic identity, gender and acculturation. We explore the ways that consumption and taste markers (e.g. fashion, cars, music and drugs) are used to establish or negotiate symbolic boundaries between groups in this youth culture. The picture they paint of the dance scene is one less about cohesiveness and unity and more about divisions and boundaries, not only between but also significantly within ethnic groupings. The choice of drugs and ways of exhibiting intoxication are among the types of consumption that the young people drew upon to mark symbolic boundaries and establish identities. The young men and women in this study discuss a number of key boundaries in the scene, e.g. between FOBs and twinkies, between pretty boys and thugs, as they attempt to establish the cultural legitimacy of their own styles of Asian American identities. © 2012 Informa UK Ltd.

Joe-Laidler K.,University of Hong Kong | Hunt G.P.,Institute for Scientific Analysis
Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy | Year: 2012

The aim of this article is to reflect on the conceptual and methodological developments of our gang research over the past 20 years. We have conducted a large number of consecutive qualitative studies on youth gangs, drugs and alcohol in one urban locale for over two decades and have amassed a data set of over 2000 qualitative interviews. We have kept pace with the social changes in San Francisco as they have impacted and shaped youth gangs and their members' lives. However, these changes have not only occurred in the social context of gang members' lives, but have also occurred in our own thinking about how to conceptualize research on gangs. We have broadened our analysis of gang members' lives and incorporated new theoretical developments from research outside of the gang field. In addition to this shift in emphasis, our overall aim has been to redirect the research focus on youth gangs from a social problem and criminological perspective to a more sociological approach in which these youth are situated within an everyday perspective. With these overall issues in mind, we see this discussion as taking stock of the nature of gang research in the past, present and future. © 2012 Informa UK Ltd.

Antin T.M.J.,1995 University Ave | Hunt G.,Institute for Scientific Analysis
Appetite | Year: 2012

As obesity persists in the United States, many public health interventions have been conceived to encourage people to change their diets. These interventions are based on encouraging people to prioritize healthier alternatives in food choice. However a consideration of the existing but limited literature on food choice for diverse populations renders such an assumption problematic. This qualitative study examined the food choices of a population most at risk for obesity - low-income African American women - by considering psychological factors, social and cultural meanings of foods, and structural conditions that shape how women decide what to eat. Interviews revealed the complexity of their food choices, illustrating the extent to which multiple influences operate simultaneously on food choice decisions. Implications for obesity prevention are discussed, in particular highlighting the problem that some types of public health interventions do not correspond to the lived experiences of the populations they intend to target. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Fazio A.,Institute for Scientific Analysis | Hunt G.,Institute for Scientific Analysis | Moloney M.,Institute for Scientific Analysis
Qualitative Health Research | Year: 2011

Research on drug use among gay and bisexual men has primarily focused on examining the link between drug use- most notably, methamphetamine-sexual practices, and risk of HIV transmission. Drawing on in-depth qualitative data from 40 interviews with gay and bisexual Asian American men, we examine perceptions and meanings associated with cocaine use in the San Francisco Bay Area gay community. We found that the participants, in contrast to their negative perceptions of methamphetamine use, believed that cocaine enhanced sociability and was acceptable for use in most social situations. Furthermore, participants perceived little connection between cocaine use and risky sexual practices, emphasizing the drug's safety relative to other illicit substances. Based on these findings, we suggest that an increase in the favorability of cocaine use might be an unintended consequence of methamphetamine prevention campaigns targeting the gay community, with their emphasis on the harmful effects of drug use, unsafe sex, and HIV risk. © The Author(s) 2011.

Hunt G.,Institute for Scientific Analysis | Fazio A.,Institute for Scientific Analysis | MacKenzie K.,Institute for Scientific Analysis | Moloney M.,Institute for Scientific Analysis
Appetite | Year: 2011

This article analyzes eating and beliefs about family meals in the qualitative interview narratives of 30 " at-risk" gang-involved young women in the San Francisco Bay Area. We begin our examination of consumption practices with a study of households and identify three major types-extended, single-parent and blended. Within these households, food purchasing and consumption activities are varied, and in many cases, our respondents rely upon extended family members and non-kin relations for support. In examining eating within the family, we identify two sets of practices and meanings: eating alone, and eating with others. Eating alone is symbolic of independence from one's family of origin, or is the result of familial conflict at the dinner table; however, it does not necessarily change our respondents' eating patterns. Eating with others in the family remains important, and many of the young women value family meals, although there are significant obstacles to eating regularly with the entire nuclear family. Many of these young women play an important role in the purchasing and preparation of food for family members as well. This paper highlights the importance of understanding family eating practices from the perspective of young people in the family, whose contribution to family ingestive practices has tended to be underestimated in much of available research literature. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Mui H.Z.,Institute for Scientific Analysis | Sales P.,Institute for Scientific Analysis | Murphy S.,Institute for Scientific Analysis
Journal of Drug Issues | Year: 2014

In this article, we present findings from a qualitative National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded study of nonmedical prescription drug users in the San Francisco Bay Area. We interviewed young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 years, who used prescription drugs nonmedically at least 12 times in the 6 months prior to the interview. Employing Aker's Social Learning Theory and Zinberg's Drug, Set, and Setting, we explore the factors that contributed to participants' choices to begin using prescription drugs nonmedically. Social Learning Theory provides the framework for understanding how deviant behaviors are learned and imitated, while set and setting emphasizes the psychological and social contexts of initiation and the ways in which the set and setting of the initiating user were influenced by exposure, motivation, access, and setting. Together, social learning, and set and setting allow us to understand the interaction of individual and social factors contributing to nonmedical prescription drug use initiation. © The Author(s) 2013.

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