Biomedical Statistics: Independent Project on Urban Low Income Women Affected by Changes to Social Policies

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Independent Project

Background of the study:
The data in the dataset comes from a longitudinal study of low-income women in four urban communities. In the original study, extensive information was collected in 1999 (Wave 1) and 2001 (Wave 2) from about 4,000 women. A major purpose of the study was to understand the life trajectories of these women and their children during a period of major changes to social policies affecting poor people in the United States. The sample was randomly selected from women who, in 1995, were single mothers receiving cash welfare assistance in the four cities. All data were collected by means of 90-minute in-person interviews in either English or Spanish in the study participants’ homes. Professional interviewers from a survey research firm, specially trained for this study, collected the data.

The participants provided information which include their age at the time of interview, age at first birth, Race/ethnicity, educational attainment, current marital status, number of children living in home over the past month, poverty status, number of emergency room visits in the past 12 months, number of doctor visits in the past 12 months, if they are a smoker, height, weight, body mass index, number of live births, number of miscarriages, total number of pregnancies, how often they got drunk over the past month, how often they smoked marijuana, crack, their level of depression, and whether they drink, use pot, or crack at all.

A measurement of their physical and mental health status was also included in the survey, The women’s physical and mental health status was measured using the Short Form 12 Health Survey, commonly referred to as the SF-12. The SF-12 is a 12-item scale providing a generic, multidimensional measure of health status, and has been used in numerous nursing and healthcare studies. Six of the 12 items measure physical health, and the remaining items measure mental health. The dataset includes the raw responses to all 12 items. The dataset includes a summary score for both physical and mental health. Scoring was based on standardization procedures in a national sample. These standard scores are based on a national average set to 50.0, with a standard deviation of 10.0. Thus, scores below 50 indicate a less favorable health status than that for a general adult population. The lower the score on the two SF-12 scales, the less favorable a person’s health or mental health status.

I chose to focus my analysis on six variables in the dataset to determine the significance and possible relationship between characteristics in the sample. The first statistical analysis concerning the frequency of race/ethnicity demonstrates that the majority of women in this sample are Black (not Hispanic). The second observation based on a summary statistic of the mental health score reveals that the sample mean is 46.9, which is below the national average score of 50. A cross tabulation between the variables of education and poverty shows data that is statistically significant to demonstrate a relationship between two variables. Next, a two sample t-test between a group of smokers and non smokers on physical health score reveals a difference between the two groups in relation to physical health. Finally, a scatter plot and test of correlation of total pregnancies and age at first birth demonstrates a negative slope between two variables and that a statistically significant relationship exists. Race/Ethnicity

1. Frequency of Race or Ethnicity among low-income women in the four urban communities Table 1. Frequency table results for Race/Ethnicity:

Race/Ethnicity| Frequency| Relative Frequency| Percent| Black, not Hispanic| 779| 0.8030928| 80.30928|
Hispanic| 123| 0.12680413| 12.680412|
White, not Hispanic| 54| 0.055670105| 5.5670104|
Z_Other| 14| 0.01443299| 1.4432989|

Figure 2. Bar Graph of frequency of Race/Ethnicity

A frequency...
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