Assets and Health: Examining the Asset-Building Theoretical Framework and Psychological Distress Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Srulovici, Einav
    • Affiliation: School of Nursing
  • Policy makers who propose developing policies to improve the health of individuals have an enormously complicated task given the complex, multifaceted, and interacting determinants of health. For social determinants of health, research has been conducted to evaluate the relationship between assets and numerous health measures. Michael Sherraden's (1991) theoretical framework on asset-based welfare policy is acknowledged as the most complete statement thus far of these relationships. Several randomized trials based on Sherraden's framework have been conducted. However, few asset-building programs have examined the influence of asset building on health outcomes. The purpose of this study was to test the asset-building theoretical framework using psychological distress as the dependent variable. The study employed longitudinal data from 6,295 families from the 2001 and 2007 Panel Study of Income Dynamics data sets. Structural equation modeling was used to test 7 direct and 7 indirect hypotheses based on the theoretical framework. In general, the data displayed a good fit to the model in cross-sectional and longitudinal models. Most of the directional hypotheses were supported. Better individual components were associated with higher saving and investment actions and greater intergenerational transfers were associated with greater asset accumulation. However, institutional components and intergenerational transfers were not associated with saving and investment actions. Unexpectedly, saving and investment actions were also associated with lower asset accumulation. Finally, greater asset accumulation was associated with an increase in psychological distress over time; however, less psychological distress was associated with an increase in asset accumulation over time. Although the hypothesis of a reciprocal relationship between asset accumulation and psychological distress was only partially supported, it is important to examine this relationship in future studies before reaching a conclusion about it. In conclusion, the asset-building theoretical framework needs modifications so asset-building programs can be tailored to different samples.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Beeber, Linda
  • Mark, Barbara
  • Grinstein-Weiss, Michal
  • Knafl, George
  • Kneipp, Shawn
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2015
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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