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December 2010 RNR

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Below is the newest installation of Research News Reporter (RNR) Online. Previous editions can be viewed in the Archives.


December 2010


IWPR’s Research News Reporter is distributed to highlight informative, innovative, and sometimes controversial research related to women and their families.

Research Making News
1.“Maternity Proves Costly for Women Buying Individual Policies”
2. “Study: Immigrant Women Suffer Abuse on the Job”
3. “17 million homes faced food shortage in 2009"
4. “Among Rich Countries, U.S. Rates Worst for Patients"

Research Reports
1. Adolescents of the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: Sexual Orientation, Sexual Behavior and Sexual Risk Exposure
2. Fertility of American Women: 2008
3. Caregivers of Veterans: Serving on the Homefront
4. The Decline of Marriage and Rise of New Families
5. Global Report: UNAIDS report on the global AIDS epidemic 2010

Research Making News

Each selection includes a short excerpt, link to the news article, and link to the research cited:

1. “Maternity Proves Costly for Women Buying Individual Policies”

Michelle Andrews
NPR/Kaiser Health News
November 16, 2010

Citing: Maternity Coverage in the Individual Health Insurance Market by Chairmen Henry A. Waxman and Bart Stupak of the U.S. Committee on Energy and Commerce

“Pregnancy ranks right up there with diabetes and a bad heart as a medical condition you don't want to have if you're in the market for individual insurance coverage. As a recent investigation by the House Energy and Commerce Committee found, chances are your policy won't cover expenses related to maternity care unless you buy a special maternity rider before you get pregnant and pay a hefty premium surcharge. […]

While pregnancy is generally a nine-month proposition, post-partum care adds another couple of months to the total. That means many women need maternity coverage over two health plan years, with the result that they may have to pay two separate deductibles for their maternity coverage. […]

In a memo outlining the results of its investigation into insurance company practices, the Energy and Commerce committee described a proposed maternity rider, for example, that would have imposed a $5,000 annual deductible on the costs of maternity care. A typical uncomplicated pregnancy, including prenatal and postpartum care, cost $10,652 in 2007, according to the March of Dimes. […]

In a few years, none of this should still apply. Under the federal health overhaul, maternity care is considered an essential health benefit, and insurance companies that sell policies in the state-based insurance exchanges, as well as those that sell new individual and small group policies outside the exchanges, will have to provide maternity coverage. […]”

To read the full article click here. To download a free copy of the research findings memorandum, click here. To learn more about the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, visit their website

2. “Study: Immigrant Women Suffer Abuse On the Job”

Jamilah King
November 19, 2010

Citing: Injustice On Our Plates: Immigrant Women in the U.S. Food Industry by the Southern Poverty Law Center

“[…A] new study shows that a considerable number of [the country’s] food service workers are at risk. The report “Injustice On Our Plates” was released by the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center, and shows that undocumented women in the food service industry endure considerable labor abuses.

The report is based on interviews with 150 undocumented immigrant women from Latin American countries that include Mexico and Guatemala. The report claims that most of these abuses go unreported because so many of these women fear deportation. Their stories likely make up just a small portion of the experiences faced by the more than 4 million undocumented women who currently live and work in the United States. […]

The study urges Congress to look at the bigger picture of immigration reform, namely the forces that have propelled these women across their borders in the first place. […]

What makes undocumented women especially at risk, according to researchers, is that they don’t just face labor abuses, but also deal with sexual harassment and assault, cases that usually go unreported. A majority of women in the study reported facing sexual harassment on the job. […]”

To read the full article, click here. To download a free PDF of the report, click here. To learn more about the Southern Poverty Law Center, visit their website

3. “17 million homes faced food shortage in 2009”

Kimberly Kindy
The Washington Post
November 16, 2010

Citing: Household Food Security in the United States, 2009 by Mark Nord, Alisha Coleman-Jensen, Margaret Andrews, and Steven Carlson of the U.S. Department of Agriculture

Nearly 17 million families in America - about 15 percent of all households - had trouble putting enough food on the table at some point last year, a federal report released Monday morning shows.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture also found that 5.6 million of these households had problems throughout the year that severely disrupted normal eating patterns. Between 500,000 and 1 million of the people affected in the homes were children. […]

The number of "food insecure" homes remained about the same as in 2008. But it has more than tripled since 2006 as the recession set in and nearly 10 percent of households were hit by unemployment. The report also provided a state-by-state breakdown, based on data from 2007-09. […]

[Kevin] Concannon [USDA undersecretary for food, nutrition, and consumer services,] said he was somewhat hopeful, since the number of families suffering from hunger and nutrition problems stabilized last year, even though the population of unemployed Americans rose from 9 million in 2008 to 14 million in 2009.

He attributed the stabilization to successful outreach and enrollment of 57 percent of these families into one or more of the USDA's food programs. One in four households have at least one family member participating in a USDA feeding program, up from one in five two years ago. […]”

To read the full article, click here. To download a free PDF of the report, click here. To learn more about the U.S. Department of Agriculture, visit their website.

4. “Among Rich Countries, U.S. Rates Worst for Patients”

Eliza Barclay
November 18, 2010

Citing: How Health Insurance Design Affects Access to Care And Costs, By Income, In Eleven Countries by Cathy Schoen, Robin Osborn, David Squires, and Michelle M. Doty of the Commonwealth Fund, and Roz Pierson and Sandra Applebaum of Harris Interactive

“[…] Take a guess which rich country's health system provides the worst experience for patients?

Yep, it's the United States, according [to] work released today by the Commonwealth Fund. Not only do Americans avoid doctors when ill for fear of being slapped with big bills, but they also shell out far more when they do go, even if they have insurance.

The findings […] looked at 11 developed countries and compared the experience of patients — from costs, to paying medical bills, to dealing with insurance companies.

The U.S. came out at the bottom on almost every count, sometimes with shocking gaps between it and the next country.

Here's a rundown of the various ways the U.S. is falling behind Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom:

  • Only 58 percent of U.S. adults said they thought they could afford the care they needed
  • A solid 20 percent of U.S. adults had major problems paying medical bills, compared to 9 percent in France, with the next highest figure […]

But some of this should change with the passage of the health care overhaul, which will make sure the 32 million Americans without coverage get it. According to Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis, the bill will make new insurance options for the uninsured affordable, ensure insurance pays for essential care, and improve financial security for millions of Americans. […]”

To read the full article, click here. To download a PDF copy of the report, click here. To learn more about the Commonwealth Fund, visit their website. To learn more about Harris Interactive, visit their website.

Research Reports

Each selection includes a short excerpt from the research and a link to the report:

1. Adolescents of the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: Sexual Orientation, Sexual Behavior, and Sexual Risk Exposure

Nanette K. Gartrell, Henny M. W. Bos, and Naomi G. Goldberg
National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study
November 2010

“This study assessed Kinsey self-ratings and lifetime sexual experiences of 17-year-olds whose lesbian mothers enrolled before these offspring were born in the longest running, prospective study of same-sex parented families, with a 93% retention rate to date. Data for the current report were gathered through online questionnaires completed by 78 adolescent offspring (39 girls and 39 boys). […The] findings suggest that adolescents reared in lesbian families are less likely than their peers to be victimized by a parent or other caregiver, and that daughters of lesbian mothers are more likely to engage in same-sex behavior and to identify as bisexual.”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study, visit their website.

2. Fertility of American Women: 2008

Jane Lawler Dye
Census Bureau
November 2010

“This report describes the fertility pat­terns of American women. It is the second report in this series, which incorporates fertility data collected in the June Supple­ment to the Current Population Survey (CPS) and the American Community Survey (ACS). The large sample size of the ACS (3 million households) makes it pos­sible to analyze fertility characteristics on a state-by-state basis. […] This report provides estimates of cumulative fertility, completed fertility, and current fertility by citizenship and employment status, as well as geographic differences in fertility. This report also examines new topics such as delayed fertility patterns for women with higher education and fertility rates of Hispanic women by nativity status. […]”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the Census Bureau, visit their website.

3. Caregivers of Veterans – Serving on the Homefront

National Alliance for Caregiving
United Health Foundation
November 2010

“Previous caregiver studies, including the 2009 Caregiving in the U.S., revealed much about family caregiving nationwide—the demographics of both caregivers and care recipients and the impact of caregiving on the caregivers’ finances, work life, health, and even their retirement. […] Caregiving in the U.S. showed that 11% of all caregivers of adults have served in the armed forces, and 17% of their care recipient are veterans. […] In conducting this study, the National Alliance for Caregiving and its funder, United Health Foundation, have led a first‑of‑its kind effort to assess the needs of caregivers of veterans from combat eras dating from World War II to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. […] In addition to identifying their challenges, the study was designed to understand how providing care affects caregivers’ lives, what organizations and information sources have been helpful to them, and what programs and services would support and assist them. […] The study combines qualitative results from a series of focus groups and in‑depth telephone interviews with quantitative data from an online survey. […]”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the National Alliance for Caregiving, visit their website. To learn more about the United Health Foundation, visit their website.

4. The Decline of Marriage and Rise of New Families

Pew Research Center
November 2010

“The transformative trends of the past 50 years that have led to a sharp decline in marriage and a rise of new family forms have been shaped by attitudes and behaviors that differ by class, age and race, according to a new Pew Research Center nationwide survey complemented by an analysis of demographic and economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau. A new “marriage gap” in the United States is increasingly aligned with a growing income gap. Marriage, while declining among all groups, remains the norm for adults with a college education and good income but is now markedly less prevalent among those on the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder. The survey finds that those in this less-advantaged group are as likely as others to want to marry, but they place a higher premium on economic security as a condition for marriage. […] The survey also finds striking differences by generation. In 1960, two-thirds (68%) of all twenty-somethings were married. In 2008, just 26% were. […The] survey finds that the young are much more inclined than their elders to view cohabitation without marriage and other new family forms — such as same sex marriage and interracial marriage — in a positive light. Even as marriage shrinks, family— in all its emerging varieties — remains resilient.[…]”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about the Pew Research Center, visit their website. To learn more about TIME, visit their website.

5. Global report: UNAIDS report on the global AIDS epidemic 2010”

Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
November 2010

“On the cusp of the fourth decade of the AIDS epidemic, the world has turned the corner—it has halted and begun to reverse the spread of HIV […]. The question remains how quickly the response can chart a new course towards UNAIDS’ vision of zero discrimination, zero new HIV infections, and zero AIDS-related deaths through universal access to effective HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. Since 1999, the year in which it is thought that the epidemic peaked, globally, the number of new infections has fallen by 19%. Of the estimated 15 million people living with HIV in low- and middle-income countries who need treatment today, 5.2 million have access—translating into fewer AIDS-related deaths. […] The evidence supporting increased investment in the HIV response has never been clearer or more compelling. New data from 182 countries, along with extensive input from civil society and other sources, clearly show that steady progress is being made towards achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. […] Increasing evidence definitively demonstrates that investments in the HIV response can lead to clear reductions in discrimination and stigma, help people in accessing information and services to reduce their risk of HIV infection, and deliver the treatment, care, and support that will extend and improve the lives of people living with HIV.”

To download a free PDF of the full report, click here. To learn more about UNAIDS, visit their website.

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