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Attitudes toward Health Insurance and Their Persistence over Time, Adults, 2001–2011

April 21, 2014 Comments off

Attitudes toward Health Insurance and Their Persistence over Time, Adults, 2001–2011
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Highlights

In 2011, 12.1 percent of adults agreed with the statement “I’m healthy enough that I really don’t need health insurance,” in contrast to only 9.0 percent of adults in the prior decade (2001). In addition, 24.3 percent of adults agreed with the statement “Health insurance is not worth the money it costs” in 2011 relative to 21.8 percent of adults in 2001.

An examination of the persistence in attitudes over a two-year interval also revealed substantial shifts in preferences within individuals over time. For years 2010 and 2011, 12.6 percent of the same individuals indicated “health insurance is not worth the money it costs” in both years, in contrast to 9.8 percent for the 2001–2002 period. In addition, 5.2 percent of the same individuals indicated “I’m healthy enough that I really don’t need health insurance” in 2010 and 2011 in contrast to 3.2 percent for 2001–2002.

In both 2001 and 2011, uninsured adults ages 18–64 were substantially more likely to indicate they were healthy and did not need health insurance, relative to their insured counterparts. They were also more likely to indicate that health insurance was not worth its cost, relative to those with coverage.

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Understanding the acceptability of e-mental health – attitudes and expectations towards computerised self-help treatments for mental health problems

April 18, 2014 Comments off

Understanding the acceptability of e-mental health – attitudes and expectations towards computerised self-help treatments for mental health problems
Source: BMC Psychiatry

Background
E-mental health and m-mental health include the use of technology in the prevention, treatment and aftercare of mental health problems. With the economical pressure on mental health services increasing, e-mental health and m-mental health could bridge treatment gaps, reduce waiting times for patients and deliver interventions at lower costs. However, despite the existence of numerous effective interventions, the transition of computerised interventions into care is slow. The aim of the present study was to investigate the acceptability of e-mental health and m-mental health in the general population.

Methods
An advisory group of service users identified dimensions that potentially influence an individual’s decision to engage with a particular treatment for mental health problems. A large sample (N = 490) recruited through email, flyers and social media was asked to rate the acceptability of different treatment options for mental health problems on these domains. Results were analysed using repeated measures MANOVA.

Results
Participants rated the perceived helpfulness of an intervention, the ability to motivate users, intervention credibility, and immediate access without waiting time as most important dimensions with regard to engaging with a treatment for mental health problems. Participants expected face-to-face therapy to meet their needs on most of these dimensions. Computerised treatments and smartphone applications for mental health were reported to not meet participants’ expectations on most domains. However, these interventions scored higher than face-to-face treatments on domains associated with the convenience of access. Overall, participants reported a very low likelihood of using computerised treatments for mental health in the future.

Conclusions
Individuals in this study expressed negative views about computerised self-help intervention and low likelihood of use in the future. To improve the implementation and uptake, policy makers need to improve the public perception of such interventions.

Illinois Residents Least Trusting of Their State Government

April 9, 2014 Comments off

Illinois Residents Least Trusting of Their State Government
Source: Gallup

Illinois residents trust their state government to handle their state’s problems far less than residents in any other state. Twenty-eight percent of Illinois residents trust their state government “a great deal” or “a fair amount.” In contrast, at least 75% of North Dakota, Wyoming, and Utah residents trust their state governments.

USPS OIG — Enhancing the Value of Mail Follow Up: Discussion Forum Recap

April 7, 2014 Comments off

Enhancing the Value of Mail Follow Up: Discussion Forum Recap
Source: U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General

Hard copy communications, and mail specifically, are not not the relic some claim them to be. Mail can still create a powerful connection with people of all ages. This is especially true when it is well designed and digitally interactive. Although senders pay for mail to be sent, catching recipients’ eyes determines the value of the communication. Without consumer interest in mailpieces like direct mail, catalogs, or bill reminders, the mail value chain breaks down.

The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) hosted a discussion forum with marketing, communications, and mail industry experts to discuss ways mail could be made more valuable to the recipient. The forum consisted of three parts. First, the OIG discussed the findings from its whitepaper that spurred the forum, Enhancing Mail for Digital Natives. Then, research highlighting the utility of mail and emotional connection to hard copy communications was illustrated through a number of European studies. Finally, there was a panel discussion among industry leaders about how mail can be made more effective in today’s omnichannel marketing campaigns.

The OIG’s past work shows that Digital Natives, aged 16-25, appreciate mail when it is personalized and has a useful connection to the digital realm. Digital Natives are gaining market power, and will soon outnumber baby boomers. As their influence grows, marketers’ ability to meet their expectations will become increasingly important.

The European research presented showed that hard-copy advertising creates a stronger emotional response than digital advertising. Another European study showed that the total cost of sending hard copy bill reminders through the mail was less than those sent via e-mail.

The panel discussed mail’s role in omnichannel campaign strategies, how personalizing can affect the success of a campaign, and demonstrated new technology like near field communication and augmented reality, which create a seamless integration between physical mail and a digital experience. There is strong interest among printers, marketers, and advertisers to incorporate this technology into traditional direct mail. Companies should take advantage of dropping prices of physical-digital technology and personalizing capabilities to create mailpieces that recipients truly value.

America’s New Drug Policy Landscape; Two-Thirds Favor Treatment, Not Jail, for Use of Heroin, Cocaine

April 3, 2014 Comments off

America’s New Drug Policy Landscape; Two-Thirds Favor Treatment, Not Jail, for Use of Heroin, Cocaine
Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

The public appears ready for a truce in the long-running war on drugs. A national survey by the Pew Research Center finds that 67% of Americans say that the government should focus more on providing treatment for those who use illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Just 26% think the government’s focus should be on prosecuting users of such hard drugs.

Support for a treatment-based approach to illegal drug use spans nearly all demographic groups. And while Republicans are less supportive of the treatment option than are Democrats or independents, about half of Republicans (51%) say the government should focus more on treatment than prosecution in dealing with illegal drug users.

As a growing number of states ease penalties for drug possession, the public expresses increasingly positive views of the move away from mandatory sentences for non-violent drug crimes. By nearly two-to-one (63% to 32%), more say it is a good thing than a bad thing that some states have moved away from mandatory sentences for non-violent drug offenders. In 2001, Americans were evenly divided over the move by some states to abandon mandatory drug terms.

The survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Feb. 14-23 among 1,821 adults, finds that support for the legalization of marijuana use continues to increase. And fully 75% of the public –including majorities of those who favor and oppose the legal use of marijuana – think that the sale and use of marijuana will eventually be legal nationwide.

Shrinking Majority of Americans Support Death Penalty

March 28, 2014 Comments off

Shrinking Majority of Americans Support Death Penalty
Source: Pew Research Religion & Public Life Project

According to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, 55% of U.S. adults say they favor the death penalty for persons convicted of murder. A significant minority (37%) oppose the practice.

While a majority of U.S. adults still support the death penalty, public opinion in favor of capital punishment has seen a modest decline since November 2011, the last time Pew Research asked the question. In 2011, fully six-in-ten U.S. adults (62%) favored the death penalty for murder convictions, and 31% opposed it.

EBRI’s 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey: Confidence Rebounds—for Those With Retirement Plans

March 24, 2014 Comments off

EBRI’s 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey: Confidence Rebounds—for Those With Retirement Plans
Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute

The percentage of workers confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement, at record lows between 2009 and 2013, increased in 2014. Eighteen percent are now very confident (up from 13 percent in 2013), while 37 percent are somewhat confident. Twenty-four percent are not at all confident (statistically unchanged from 28 percent in 2013).

Worldwide, Many See Belief in God as Essential to Morality

March 17, 2014 Comments off

Worldwide, Many See Belief in God as Essential to Morality
Source: Pew Global Attitudes Project

Many people around the world think it is necessary to believe in God to be a moral person, according to surveys in 40 countries by the Pew Research Center. However, this view is more common in poorer countries than in wealthier ones.

In 22 of the 40 countries surveyed, clear majorities say it is necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values. This position is highly prevalent, if not universal, in Africa and the Middle East. At least three-quarters in all six countries surveyed in Africa say that faith in God is essential to morality. In the Middle East, roughly seven-in-ten or more agree in Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, the Palestinian territories, Tunisia and Lebanon. Across the two regions, only in Israel does a majority think it is not necessary to believe in God to be an upright person.

Many people in Asia and Latin America also link faith and morality. For example, Indonesians, Pakistanis, Filipinos and Malaysians almost unanimously think that belief in God is central to having good values. People in El Salvador, Brazil, Bolivia and Venezuela overwhelmingly agree. However, most Chinese take the opposite position – that it is not necessary to be a believer to be a moral person. And in Latin America, the Chileans and Argentines are divided.

The Millennial Survey 2014: Big demands and high expectations

March 10, 2014 Comments off

The Millennial Survey 2014: Big demands and high expectations
Source: Deloitte

Deloitte’s third annual Millennial Survey surveyed nearly 7,800 Millennials from 28 countries across Western Europe, North America, Latin America, BRICS and Asia-Pacific about business, government and innovation. The questionnaire focused on the role business plays in society; its objectives, impact and outcomes; the responsibility of business and government and how well each is addressing the challenges faced by society; the potential impact of new technologies and innovation; and how businesses help people to bring out new ideas and develop their leadership skills.

Across the globe 70 percent of tomorrow’s future leaders might ‘reject’ what business as traditionally organized has to offer, preferring to work independently through digital means in the future. This and other findings in Deloitte’s annual study of Generation Y point to significant challenges facing business leaders if they are to meet the expectations of the Millennial generation.

U.S. Catholics View Pope Francis as a Change for the Better

March 6, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Catholics View Pope Francis as a Change for the Better
Source: Pew Religion & Public Life Project

One year into his pontificate, Pope Francis remains immensely popular among American Catholics and is widely seen as a force for positive change within the Roman Catholic Church. More than eight-in-ten U.S. Catholics say they have a favorable view of the pontiff, including half who view him very favorably. The percentage of Catholics who view Francis “very favorably” now rivals the number who felt equally positive about Pope John Paul II in the 1980s and 1990s, though Francis’ overall favorability rating remains a few points shy of that of the long-serving Polish pope.

But despite the pope’s popularity and the widespread perception that he is a change for the better, it is less clear whether there has been a so-called “Francis effect,” a discernible change in the way American Catholics approach their faith. There has been no measurable rise in the percentage of Americans who identify as Catholic. Nor has there been a statistically significant change in how often Catholics say they go to Mass. And the survey finds no evidence that larger numbers of Catholics are either going to confession or volunteering in their churches or communities.

Racial Discrimination: How Far Have We Come?

March 5, 2014 Comments off

Racial Discrimination: How Far Have We Come?
Source: Harris Interactive

In the midst of Black History Month, it is perhaps an appropriate time to examine some of our nation’s historical racial divides and reflect on changes that we as a country have seen over time. As far back as 1969 and 1972, The Harris Poll measured perceptions among U.S. adults as to whether blacks were discriminated against in a variety of areas of American life. A new Harris Poll revisits the same line of inquiry and finds that, 45 years later, there have been some sizeable changes – along with a disparaging lack of change in some regards.

UK — Measuring National Well-being – Governance, 2014

February 26, 2014 Comments off

Measuring National Well-being – Governance, 2014
Source: Office for National Statistics

This article is published as part of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Measuring National Well-being Programme. The programme aims to produce accepted and trusted measures of the well-being of the nation – how the UK as a whole is doing. This article explores in more detail aspects of governance considered important for understanding National Well-being. It considers information on forms of civic engagement, notably satisfaction with government and democracy, interest in politics and participation in politics.

AARP Attitudes of Aging Study

February 21, 2014 Comments off

AARP Attitudes of Aging Study
Source: AARP

A two-part study commissioned by AARP the Magazine. Part one was comprised of a Research Day with two three hour sessions consisting of six simultaneous focus groups. The Research Day’s intent was to help direct the quantitative portion of the research by better understanding:

  • How adults age 45+ feel about aging
  • What defines age. Is it the way one looks or the way one feels
  • The impact of the prejudices of aging (ageism)
  • The influence of society’s opinions on their perception of aging
  • The impact of life events on their perception of aging
  • How social connectedness and technology impact their perceptions of aging

Part two was an online survey of 1800 respondents consisting of attitudinal questions to answer the question, ‘What aging attitudes drive the overall satisfaction with life’? Attitudinal questions centered around the following items that were uncovered in part one of the research:

  • Psychological growth and loss
  • Health and physical changes
  • Discrimination and prejudices
  • Physical appearance
  • Traditional and online social networks
  • Technology

Citizen Satisfaction for Federal Government Falls as Users Encounter Difficulties With Government Websites

February 18, 2014 Comments off

Citizen Satisfaction for Federal Government Falls as Users Encounter Difficulties With Government Websites
Source: American Customer Satisfaction Index

Americans are less satisfied with services provided by the U.S. federal government in 2013, according to a report released today by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). ACSI results show that citizen satisfaction with federal government services drops 3.4% to 66.1 (on a scale of 0 to 100) as compared with the prior year. The decline, which erases two years of consecutive gains, occurs amid widespread downturns in satisfaction with federal government websites, including the widely publicized problems with the rollout of Healthcare.gov. The negative impact of the site’s launch reverberates at the department level, as Health and Human Services overall drops 4% to an ACSI benchmark of 66.

In aggregate, citizen satisfaction with federal websites is down 3% from an ACSI benchmark of 74 in 2012 to 72. Because of the large number of people that use the Internet for government services, the slip in e-government has a strong impact on overall citizen satisfaction with the federal government. Users find government sites to be more difficult to navigate, less reliable, and the information less useful than they did a year ago.

Identifying Users with Opposing Opinions in Twitter Debates

February 6, 2014 Comments off

Identifying Users with Opposing Opinions in Twitter Debates (PDF)
Source: Arizona State University

In recent times, social media sites such as Twitter have been extensively used for debating politics and public policies. These debates span millions of tweets and numerous topics of public importance. Thus, it is imperative that this vast trove of data is tapped in order to gain insights into public opinion especially on hotly contested issues such as abortion, gun reforms etc. Thus, in our work, we aim to gauge users’ stance on such topics in Twitter. We propose ReLP, a semi-supervised framework using a retweet-based label propagation algorithm coupled with a supervised classi er to identify users with di ering opinions. In particular, our framework is designed such that it can be easily adopted to di erent domains with little human supervision while still producing excellent accuracy.

Hat tip: ResearchBuzz

Attitudes about Aging: A Global Perspective

January 31, 2014 Comments off

Attitudes about Aging: A Global Perspective
Source: Pew Global Attitudes Project

At a time when the global population of people ages 65 and older is expected to triple to 1.5 billion by mid-century, public opinion on whether the growing number of older people is a problem varies dramatically around the world, according to a Pew Research Center survey.

Concern peaks in East Asia, where nearly nine-in-ten Japanese, eight-in-ten South Koreans and seven-in-ten Chinese describe aging as a major problem for their country. Europeans also display a relatively high level of concern with aging, with more than half of the public in Germany and Spain saying that it is a major problem. Americans are among the least concerned, with only one-in-four expressing this opinion.

These attitudes track the pattern of aging itself around the world. In Japan and South Korea, the majorities of the populations are projected to be older than 50 by 2050. China is one of most rapidly aging countries in the world. Germany and Spain, along with their European neighbors, are already among the countries with the oldest populations today, and their populations will only get older in the future. The U.S. population is also expected to get older, but at a slower rate than in most other countries.

Vaccine Risk Perceptions and Ad Hoc Risk Communication: An Empirical Assessment

January 29, 2014 Comments off

Vaccine Risk Perceptions and Ad Hoc Risk Communication: An Empirical Assessment
Source: Social Science Research Network

This Report presents empirical evidence relevant to assessing the claim—reported widely in the media and other sources—that the public is growing increasingly anxious about the safety of childhood vaccinations. Based on survey and experimental methods (N = 2,316), the Report presents two principal findings: first, that vaccine risks are neither a matter of concern for the vast majority of the public nor an issue of contention among recognizable demographic, political, or cultural subgroups; and second, that ad hoc forms of risk communication that assert there is mounting resistance to childhood immunizations themselves pose a risk of creating misimpressions and arousing sensibilities that could culturally polarize the public and diminish motivation to cooperate with universal vaccination programs. Based on these findings the Report recommends that government agencies, public health professionals, and other constituents of the public health establishment (1) promote the use of valid and appropriately focused empirical methods for investigating vaccine-risk perceptions and formulating responsive risk communication strategies; (2) discourage ad hoc risk communication based on impressionistic or psychometrically invalid alternatives to these methods; (3) publicize the persistently high rates of childhood vaccination and high levels of public support for universal immunization in the U.S.; and (4) correct ad hoc communicators who misrepresent U.S. vaccination coverage and its relationship to the incidence of childhood diseases.

Deficit Reduction Declines as Policy Priority

January 27, 2014 Comments off

Deficit Reduction Declines as Policy Priority
Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

For the first time since Barack Obama took office in 2009, deficit reduction has slipped as a policy priority among the public. Overall, 63% say reducing the budget deficit should be a top priority for Congress and the president this year, down from 72% a year ago. Most of the decline has come among Democrats: Only about half of Democrats – 49% – view deficit reduction as a top priority, down 18 points since last January.

Most See Inequality Growing, but Partisans Differ over Solutions

January 23, 2014 Comments off

Most See Inequality Growing, but Partisans Differ over Solutions
Source: Pew Research Center for the People and the Press

There is broad public agreement that economic inequality has grown over the past decade. But as President Obama prepares for Tuesday’s State of the Union, where he is expected to unveil proposals for dealing with inequality and poverty, there are wide partisan differences over how much the government should – and can – do to address these issues.

The new national survey by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY, conducted Jan. 15-19 among 1,504 adults, finds that 65% believe the gap between the rich and everyone else has increased in the last 10 years. This view is shared by majorities across nearly all groups in the public, including 68% of Democrats and 61% of Republicans.

Yet there is a sharp disagreement over whether this gap needs government attention. Among Democrats, 90% say the government should do “a lot” or “some” to reduce the gap between the rich and everyone else, including 62% who say it should do a lot. But only half as many Republicans (45%) think the government should do something about this gap, with just 23% saying it should do a lot. Instead, nearly half of Republicans say the government should do “not much” (15%) or “nothing at all” (33%) about the wealth divide.

Gender and Perceptions of Occupational Prestige

January 22, 2014 Comments off

Gender and Perceptions of Occupational Prestige
Source: Sage Open

Two studies compared perceptions of status for occupations based on the gender and race of the workers. In total, 387 college students participated in this research. Across studies, results indicated that participants did not differentially value occupations based on the gender or race of the workers in terms of prestige ratings or salary estimates. However, participants judged that occupations required more education when described as having predominantly male workers rather than female workers. In addition, the participants showed different levels of interest in the positions depending on the occupational gender. These results are compared with similar studies conducted 20 years ago, in which participants showed more overt forms of devaluing occupations associated with women.

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