Examining Free Clinic Patients Household Environmental Safety and the Resulting Impact on Their Perceived Stress Levels

Claire Dinehart, Margaret Alvord, Alexis Holdeman, and Dr. Akiko Kamimura, Department of Sociology, University of Utah, 201 Presidents' Cir, Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Previous studies suggest uninsured individuals in poverty not only experience higher levels of stress than the general public, but also often have hard time to seek positive coping strategies. If the exposure to an unsafe environment is prolonged, the individual is subsequently exposed to chronic stress as a result of their constant safety concerns. Yet, little is known how home environmental issues affect stress levels among underserved populations. The purpose of this research project is to examine the association between household environmental safety and stress among uninsured primary care patients who live in poverty. Data have been collected from patients of the Maliheh Free Clinic in Salt Lake City using a self-administered survey in Fall 2019. As of October 14, 2019, 195 patients participated in the survey. The preliminary results suggest that while higher levels of concerns about indoor air pollution, lead exposure, pesticide contamination, and water contamination were associated with higher levels of perceived stress, concerns about mold were not related to stress. None of the demographic characteristics such as educational attainment and marital status affected the association between environmental concerns and perceived stress levels. Identifying these stress-related household environmental safety concerns provides a basis from which stress-reducing interventions can be launched. Remedying household environmental issues can range from simple changes, like proper chemical storage, to large scale remodeling projects, like lead abatement. Providing education about household environmental safety and information about local resources to free clinic patients is the first step towards improving stress conditions in at-risk populations.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Claire Dinehart

Institution: University of Utah

Type: Poster

Subject: Sociology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 11
Date/Time: Wed 3:00pm-4:00pm
Session Number: 7149