Intergenerational social networks and health behaviors among children living in public housing

Alene Kennedy-Hendricks, Heather Schwartz, Rachel Johnson Thornton, Beth Ann Griffin, Harold D. Green, David P. Kennedy, Susan Burkhauser, Craig Evan Pollack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives. In a survey of families living in public housing, we investigated whether caretakers' social networks are linked with children's health status. Methods. In 2011, 209 children and their caretakers living in public housing in suburban Montgomery County, Maryland, were surveyed regarding their health and social networks. We used logistic regression models to examine the associations between the perceived health composition of caretaker social networks and corresponding child health characteristics (e.g., exercise, diet). Results. With each 10% increase in the proportion of the caretaker's social network that exercised regularly, the child's odds of exercising increased by 34% (adjusted odds ratio = 1.34; 95% confidence interval = 1.07, 1.69) after the caretaker's own exercise behavior and the composition of the child's peer network had been taken into account. Although children's overweight or obese status was associated with caretakers' social networks, the results were no longer significant after adjustment for caretakers' own weight status. Conclusions. We found that caretaker social networks are independently associated with certain aspects of child health, suggesting the importance of the broader social environment for low-income children's health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2291-2297
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Intergenerational social networks and health behaviors among children living in public housing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this