Journal of Health and Social Sciences 2016, 1(3) Click Free Full Open Access

15 November 2016

Table of Contents

JHSS 2016,1(3):165-172

Editorial in Global Health and Development

The migrant nightmare: Addressing disparities is a key challenge for developed nations

Author: Francesco Chirico*

*Health Service State Police, Ministry of Interior, Italy

Keywords: health status disparities; refugees; economic development; emigrants and immigrants.

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JHSS 2016,1(3):173-180

Viewpoint Article in Food Security

Does science have the answer to most issues of food security?

Authors: Marta Musolino*, Gabriella Nucera**

*Undergraduate Student, Department Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom 

**Department of Emergency, ASST Fatebenefratelli Sacco, PO Fatebenefratelli, Milan, Italy. Faculty of Nursing Science, University of Milan, Milan, Italy


Today, the attention to food security has grown with the awareness of resources’ scarcity, earth excessive exploitation, population growth and climate change, all factors that are associated with an impelling food emergency. A plethora of theoretical perspectives adopted in analysing food security issue reflects in diverse normative approaches. Some focus on the rapport between population demand and food supply, seeking to reduce the former or increase the latter in order to achieve food security. Applying the technological progress of scientific research will have its positive outcomes: production will increase, keeping prices low; the limited resources will be used more efficiently, decreasing the consumption of water, energy and land; the environment will benefit from a more sustainable production. However, scientific solutions, such as population control, that do not restore individuals’ entitlement to food will be ineffective in preventing food insecurity. Therefore, food security it is not achievable by the sole means of science. A greater quantity of food does not guarantee a more equal distribution of resources. Increasing food production without altering its uneven distribution will only augment this inequality, making who has access to food more secure but not helping who is currently affected by the food insecurity issues. Science can play its role, but development towards the solutions to food insecurity must be led by politics.

Keywords: food security; global health; socioeconomic factors.

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JHSS 2016,1(3):181-198

Review Article in Infectious Diseases

Gender and HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh: A review

Author: Joydeb Garai*

* Joydeb Garai, Department of Sociology, University of Chittagong, Chittagong, Bangladesh. E-mail:


Introduction: The HIV/AIDS epidemic portrays a growing health threat in the world. In Bangladesh, the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS is not yet high but it is gradually becoming a threat especially for women and young girls due to gender disparity. This systematic review was conducted to explore the gender-specific vulnerability to HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh in order to suggest to policy makers the best way for the prevention of HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh as well as in other low income countries.

Methods: Peer review articles were identified using a systematic search of two databases: Pubmed and Goggle Scholar. The search was limited to studies published in English between 1998 and 2016 and included a special focus on articles addressing the gender-specific risk factors to HIV/AIDS.

Discussion and Conclusion: This paper analyzes how women and girls in marginalized position in the society fall victim to HIV/AIDS due to gender disparities and other related issues. The findings of the study indicate that women and young girls are the most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS infection among the general people. Along with biological susceptibility, other major causes of this vulnerability of women and girls are gender inequality, sexual abuse and violence, social stigma, inability to decision making power, economic dependency and men’s sexual power and privilege over women. This paper helps policy makers and invites them to take special care to reduce gender inequality before implementing any policy for the prevention of HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh as well as in low income countries.

Keywords: HIV/; AIDS; social determinants of health; vulnerable populations; women’s health; sex workers.

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JHSS 2016,1(3):199-210

Clinical Trial in Psychology of Sport

Examining physical training versus physical and mental training programmes in Swimrun semi-professional athletes: A randomised, controlled, trial

Author: Giuseppe Ferrari*, Francesco Chirico**, Giuseppina Rasà*

*Italian Society of Integrative Psychotherapy for Social Development (SIPISS).

**Health Service Department, State Police, Ministry of Interior, Italy.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify the effect of two psychological interventions, named ‘Mental imagery’ and ‘Motivational self-talk’ training used in combination, on perceived excertion and flow state in a sample of Swimrun semi-professional athletes.

Methods: Thirty male semi-professional athletes, enrolled for a Swimrun competition, were randomly selected into an experimental group (EXP) and a control group (CON). The modified Borg Scale of Perceived Exertion (RPE) and the Flow State Scale (FSS) were the dependent variables. Before a Swimrun competition, the EXP Group performed both physical and mental training programs, while the CON group only performed a physical training program. Immediately after the race, we measured the dependent variables in both groups.

Results: The results of unpaired-t test showed that levels of perceived exertion were less in EXP group than CON group, (t(28) = 12.87, P < .001), while levels of flow state were higher in EXP group than CON group (t(28) = 5.96, P < .001), immediately after the end of the endurance competition. The use of both mental imagery and self-talk training in order to reduce perceived exertion and improve flow state was supported (P < .001).

Discussion and Conclusion: The findings of this study support the psychobiological model of endurance performance. Our research is the first to demonstrate that mental imagery used in combination with motivational self-talk can reduce the perceived exertion and improve the flow state in Swimrun athletes during their endurance performance.


Keywords: psychology, sports; physical exertion; psychotherapy; physical endurance; athletes.

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JHSS 2016,1(3):211-222

Original Article in Oncology

Incidence and survival of skin melanoma in Puglia: A comparison with the rest of Italy

Authors: Anna Maria Nannavecchia1, Danila Bruno1, Antonino Ardizzone2, Enrico Caputo3, Anna Melcarne4, Antonia Mincuzzi5, Fernando Palma6, Lucia Bisceglia7, Ida Galise8, Francesco Cuccaro9

*Coordination Centre of Cancer Registry of Puglia, Cancer Institute IRCCS “Giovanni Paolo II”, Bari, Italy.

**RTP- Local Health Unit of Brindisi, Brindisi, Italy.

***RTP- Local Health Unit of Bari, Bari, Italy.

****RTP- Local Health Unit of Lecce, Lecce, Italy.

*****RTP- Local Health Unit of Taranto, Taranto, Italy.

******RTP- Local Health Unit of Foggia, Foggia, Italy.

*******Ares Puglia, Regional Health Agency, Bari, Italy.

********Regional Agency for Environmental Protection and Prevention of Puglia, Bari, Italy.

*********RTP- Local Health Unit of Barletta, Barletta, Italy.


Introduction: There is a wide heterogeneity in incidence, prevalence, mortality and survival of skin melanoma through the world and in Italy as well. In this study we investigated, for the first time, incidence, mortality and survival of skin melanoma in Puglia, comparing results with Italian data.

Materials and methods: We collected accurate information about clinical and pathological variables, and measured crude and age-adjusted incidence and mortality rates, and estimated relative and net survival according to Ederer II and Pohar-Perme methods, respectively. Incidence, mortality and survival were performed by district and for the whole Puglia region; internal and external comparisons were done.

Results: Age-adjusted incidence rates per 100,000 inhabitants in males were: Puglia 9.9 (95% confidence interval [CI] 9.1 to 10.8), AIRTUM Italy (AIRTUM pool) 12.0 (95% CI 11.6 to 12.4), Pool of Southern Italian registries (South pool) 7.1 (95% CI 6.6 to 7.6); in females: Puglia 9.7 (95% CI 8.9 to 10.6), AIRTUM pool 11.3 (95% CI 10.9 to 11.7), South pool 6.5 (95% CI 6.0 to 7.0). Age-standardized mortality rates per 100,000 inhabitants were in males and females in Puglia respectively 2.4 (95% CI 2.0 to 2.8) and 1.6 (95% CI 1.3 to 1.9). 5 years age-standardized relative survival was as follows: in males Puglia 81.4% (95% CI 77.0 to 85.0), Italy 81.6% (95% CI 80.4 to 82.8); in females Puglia 87.3% (95% CI 83.3 to 90.4), Italy 88.6% (95% CI 87.6 to 89.6).

Conclusions: Incidence of skin melanoma is higher in Puglia compared with the southern Italy pool and lower compared with the other three Italian macro-areas (central, north-western and north-eastern Italy),but there are not statistically significant differences. A North to South gradient of melanoma skin is showed also in Puglia, except for Bari district where incidence is higher probably due to greater availability of public and private diagnostic centres. Overall mortality and survival in Puglia are very close to Italian estimates. The highest mortality is registered in males in BAT district where also the lowest survival is observed.

Keywords: melanoma, epidemiology; incidence; mortality; registries.

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JHSS 2016,1(3):223-240

Original Article in Psychology

Exploring individual differences in online and face-to-face help-seeking intentions in case of impending mental health problems: The role of adult attachment, perceived social support, psychological distress and self-stigma

Authors: Jennifer Apolinário-Hagen*, Annina Trachse Dugo**, Lisa Anhorn**, Britta Holsten**, Verena Werner**, Simone Krebs**

*University of Hagen (FernUniversität in Hagen), Faculty of Culture and Social Sciences, Institute for Psychology, Department of Health Psychology, Hagen, Germany.

**University of Hagen (FernUniversität in Hagen), Institute for Psychology, Hagen, Germany.


Background: Even though common mental health problems such as depression are a global burden calling for efficient prevention strategies, still many distressed individuals face hurdles to access public mental healthcare. Thus, computerized Internet-based psychological services have been suggested as viable approach to overcome barriers, such as self-stigma, and to inform the access to professional support on a large scale. However, little research has targeted predictors of online and face-to-face help-seeking intentions.

Objective: This study aimed at determining whether associations between attachment insecurity and the willingness to seek online versus face-to-face counselling in case of impending emotional problems are mediated by both perceived social support and psychological distress and moderated by self-stigma.

Methods: Data was collected from 301 adults from the German-speaking general population (age: M = 34.42, SD = 11.23; range: 18 – 65 years; 72.1% female) through an anonymous online survey. Determinants of seeking help were assessed with the self-report measures Experiences in Close Relationship-Scale, Perceived Stress Questionnaire, ENRICHD-Social Support Inventory and an adapted version of the General Help Seeking Questionnaire (i.e. case vignette). Mediation analyses were performed with the SPSS-macro PROCESS by Hayes.

Results: About half of the sample indicated being not aware of online counselling. As expected, insecure attachment was associated with less perceived social support and increased psychological distress. Mediational analyses revealed negative relationships between both attachment avoidance and self-stigma with face-to-face help-seeking intentions. Moreover, the relationship between attachment anxiety and the willingness to seek face-to-face counselling was mediated by social support. In contrast, none of the predictors of online counselling was statistically significant.

Conclusions: Overall, this study identified negative associations between both attachment avoidance and self-stigma with face-to-face help-seeking intentions, whereas determinants of seeking online counselling remained largely unclear. Further research is required to identify the role of e-awareness and e-mental health literacy in terms of online counselling uptake.

Keywords: mental health; health care seeking behavior; community mental health services; telemedicine.

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JHSS 2016,1(3):241-250

Original Article in Public Health

Prevalence of alcohol and drug consumption and knowledge of drug/alcohol-related sexual assaults among Italian adolescents

Authors: Antonio Villa*, Alessia Fazio**, Anna Esposito**

Department of Emergency, ASST Monza, Desio Hospital, Monza, Italy

**ASST Fatebenefratelli Sacco, PO Fatebenefratelli, Milan, Italy. Faculty of Nursing Science, University of Milan, Milan, Italy


Introduction: Alcohol is the most widely used substance among adolescents, exceeding the use of tobacco and illicit drugs. The study aims at investigating the prevalence of alcohol and drug use and prevalence and knowledge of Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault (DFSA) among Italian adolescents.

Methods: The study population was a sample of 512 students of secondary education (high school) from 3 public schools in Milan, Italy. Two hundred and fourty-nine boys and 263 girls aged 15 to 21 years old (M = 16.2, SD = 2.1) answered a specially structured anonymous questionnaire.

Results: Recent problem drinking (‘every day’ or ‘once a week’) was reported from 9% (‘wine’) up to 28% (‘beer’) of students. Cannabis and rave drugs usage (ranged from ‘every day’ to ‘once only in a while’) were reported by up to 38% (‘cannabis’) and 2% (‘rave drugs’) of students. Beer was the most popular type of alcoholic beverage (81%) with respect to wine (62%) and hard liquor (66%). Only a small percentage of participants stated that they were informed about the possible addiction to alcohol (5%) and its negative social consequences (3%). Nevertheless, almost all the students (92%) declared that alcohol consumption was less dangerous than other psychoactive substances. Finally, most students stated to know DFSA phenomenon (77%) and were victims or witness (13%) of a DFSA event.

Conclusion: Psychoactive substances consumption remains a serious problem among Italian adolescents. For a successful alcohol strategy there is a need to implement preventive measures and counseling approaches in school. Increasing the knowledge of the negative effects of alcohol/drugs use might also lead to a better prevention of the DFSA phenomenon.

Keywords: drug abuse; alcohol drinking in college; cannabis; sex offenses; adolescent.

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JHSS 2016,1(3):251-262

Original Article in Geriatry

Prevalence of disability in Iranian older adults in Tehran, Iran: A population-based study

Authors: Vahid Rashedi*,**, Mohsen Asadi-Lari***, Mahshid Foroughan*,**, Ahmad Delbari*,**, Reza Fadayevatan*,**

*Iranian Research Center on Aging, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

**Department of Aging, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

***Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Oncopathology Research Center, Iran. University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


Introduction: The increase in the prevalence of disability has serious consequences for elders, their families, and the society in general. The effects of disability on an aging population’s health and welfare are important issues in gerontological research. The aim of the present study was to investigate the prevalence of disability in the community-dwelling older adults living in Tehran, Iran.

Methods: In this large population-based cross-sectional study (Urban HEART-2), 15,069 individuals aged ≥ 60 years were selected randomly based on a multistage, cluster sampling in Tehran, Iran, in 2011. All participants were interviewed by trained personnel by means of a standardized questionnaire which asked about prevalence of disability, disability type and socio-demographic variables. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and Chi-square test.

Results: Of the total study population, 54.8% (n = 8,264) were males. The participants’ mean age was 68.93 years (SD = 7.27) and the participants’ mean of Body Mass Index (BMI) was 26.21 kg/m2 (SD = 4.40). Based on the results, the overall prevalence of disability was 11%. ‘Hearing Loss’ (68.3%) and ‘Hearing Impairment’ (10.4%) were the most prevalent types of disability that occurred in our sample. The majority of the participants were using services of private rehabilitation centers. There were statistically significant differences in terms of age, BMI, and educational background between the group of individuals who reported one or more types of disability and the group of individuals reporting none.

Conclusion: For older adults, disability directly affects daily functioning by restricting physical and social activities, the ability to maintain self-sufficiency, and ultimately the freedom to live a chosen lifestyle. Prevention strategies should focus on reducing the incidence of chronic disease and improving socioeconomic status of older adults.

Keywords: epidemiology; disability evaluation; frail older adults; geriatrics; Urban HEART; Iran.

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JHSS 2016,1(3):263-278

Original Article in Public Health

Social determinants of vulnerability to ill-health: Evidences from Mendi Town, Western Ethiopia

Authors: Amanti Baru*, Padmanabhan Murugan*

* Department of Sociology, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia.

* Department of Sociology, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


Introduction: The premise of this study is that disparity in individuals’ degree of susceptibility to physical and mental ill-health is determined by the amount of structurally (socially) distributed resources (‘capitals’). Based on Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of capitals, the study identified and employed economic, social and cultural capitals acting as structurally distributed resources that determine the health outcomes of people in Ethiopia.

Methods: This study used a cross-sectional survey design to collect quantitative data from 276 randomly selected respondents in Mendi Town, Western Ethiopia to ascertain the role of capitals in determining individuals’ level of vulnerability to physical and mental ill-health. Moreover, qualitative data collected through in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and key informant interviews have been used to deeply understand the pathways in which ‘capitals’ affect health outcomes.

Results: Our study revealed that inequality in the level of vulnerability to ill-health among individuals across different social-strata is based on unequal distribution of capitals. The study found that the poorest individuals, women, elderly, widowed, divorced, and individuals with poor education are the most vulnerable groups to ill-health in the study area. These groups are deprived of adequate economic, social, and cultural capitals that would enable them to avoid ill-health. Majority of the study population are highly vulnerable to ill-health and they are found to have poor health status due to deprivation of capitals. Nevertheless, only little targeted interventions have been made to increase the levels of capitals available for people and to enhance their health status.

Conclusion: This study is aligned with an economic perspective of the social determinants of health; it showed that social factors are fundamental agents for protecting individuals from ill-health or to make them vulnerable. The authors recommend public health interventions that consider the social context of individuals in order to reduce vulnerability to ill-health and improve their health status.

Keywords: capital; economics; social determinants of health; socioeconomic factors; health policy; Ethiopia.

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JHSS 2016,1(3):279-286

Case Report in Infectious Diseases

Tuberculous cardiac tamponade presenting as severe hypoxic hepatitis

Authors: Valdes Roberto Bollela*, Fernanda Guioti Puga*, Rodrigo Carvalho Santana*

*School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.


A 57-year-old man was referred to the Emergency Department with epigastric and respiratory dependent pain for six days. The physical examination showed mild jaundice, painful liver and muffled heart sounds. Laboratory tests revealed alanine aminotransferase 14,620 IU/L, bilirubin 10.8 mg/dL and serum lactate 13.9 mmol/L. The chest radiograph revealed diffuse interstitial infiltrate predominantly in the right perihilar region with an increased cardiothoracic index. An abdominal ultrasonography confirmed the hepatomegaly and enlargement of inferior vena cava, while the echocardiogram showed a large pericardial effusion with signs of cardiac tamponade. The patient was transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU) where he underwent a pericardiocentesis. A total of 640 ml of hemorrhagic fluid was drained, with significant clinical improvement after the procedure. Mycobacterium tuberculosis was isolated from the gastric lavage and pericardial fluid cultures. Ten days after admission and cardiac tamponade drainage the patient was recovered, the liver aminotransferases were close to the normal values and the patient presented a progressive clinical and laboratory improvement with the tuberculosis treatment. Tuberculosis cardiac tamponade usually does not have an acute clinical presentation and is a rare but life-threatening cause of severe hypoxic hepatitis, which may lead to mal-perfusion secondary to blood stasis in the liver. As soon as the cause of liver hypoxemia is removed there will be a rapid and impressive improvement in the liver damage and function markers.

Keywords:  cardiac tamponade; pericarditis, tuberculous; hepatitis.

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JHSS 2016,1(3):287-292

Book Review Article in Occupational Psychology

An ancient theory for a current problem [Review of the book Healthy Work: Stress, productivity and the reconstruction of working lifeby R.A. Karasek & T. Theorell].  

Authors: Pietro Crescenzo*

*Department of Human, Philosophical and Educational Science, University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy

Keywords:  psychology,social; psychology,health; stress,psychological; demand-control-support model

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