All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Patricia Drentea

Advisory Committee Members

Gail Wallace

Connie Kohler

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2013

Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

In order to better understand the SES-health relationship and gain a more accurate estimation of SES on physical health, the primary objectives of this research are: (1) to test the relationship between Alabamians' indebtedness and their health-related behaviors; (2) to test the mediating effect of Alabamians' socioeconomic and sociodemographic status in the relationship of indebtedness and health-related behaviors; and, (3) to test the possible mediating effect of debt stress on indebtedness and health-related behaviors. The health lifestyle theory guides this research. Research has advanced two views that explain the interrelationship between socioeconomic status and physical health. The first view deals with individuals' financial well-being, including indebtedness, which partially explains the health gradient of socioeconomic status. The second view looks at the gradient of physical health on daily health-related behaviors, such as smoking, binge drinking, unhealthy diet, and sedentary lifestyle. However, little has been discussed about the correlation between financial well-being and health-related behaviors. This includes the unanswered question regarding how health-related behaviors are associated with individuals' indebtedness. To answer the above questions, this research uses the Health Lifestyle Model (Cockerham 2005). To my knowledge, this is the first attempt to provide a better picture of debt-health literature in relation to the above questions. This research will use data from the Alabama Omnibus survey research of 2010, in which 515 Alabamians are randomly sampled from all Alabama residents. Due to the nature of the focal outcome variables, ordinal logistic regression, binary logistic regression, and ordinary least squares model will be applied to conduct statistical analyses and address proposed research questions based on the health lifestyle theory. In the context of the recent economic slowdown, the conclusions of this research may be especially beneficial to financial educators and practitioners engaging in debt education--such as credit counselors--or debt-holders themselves.

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