A PHS 795 student writes:
Displaying an interesting relationship to findings from the Moving to Opportunity Housing Mobility Experiment described in Dr. Stephanie Robert’s lecture, a study in the department of psychiatry at the University of Michigan found that fear of violence in neighborhoods at age 15 was predictive of increased BMI a decade later for females, but not for males. Just as males were less likely to be positively influenced by a change in neighborhood in the Moving to Opportunity Housing Mobility Experiment, males were less likely to be negatively influenced by negative aspects of their neighborhoods in this study. It would be interesting to study what the contributing factors may be to male resilience to the positive or negative effects of their surroundings. Another interesting detail of the experiment was that victims or observers of violence did not display the same prediction of BMI as those who simply feared violence. A follow-up study as to how chronic vs acute fear plays into body weight may be useful to understanding the effects of neighborhoods on physical and mental wellbeing. This study reinforces the idea that your neighborhood can be a key factor in predicting your health outcomes, even years after you have moved away.
Interesting observation about fear possibly playing a role (mediator? moderator?). It reminds me of work by PHS graduate Dr. Abiola Keller that suggested stress was associated with morbidity and mortality but only for those who believed that stress was harmful to health (we will see a related video in Dr. Paul Creswell’s upcoming lecture). It also reminds me of this:
“I must not fear.Fear is the mind-killer.Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.I will face my fear.I will permit it to pass over me and through me.And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” (Frank Herbert. Litany Against Fear. Dune)
(but then again, I am a total nerd)