What Predicts a Mayoral Official’s Opinion about the Role of Stress in Health Disparities?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High stress is a public health issue in the United States (US), that disproportionately affects socially-marginalized group members, including racial and ethnic minorities and those of low socioeconomic status. While city governments have the potential to reduce stress exposure and health disparities through municipal policies, very little is known about factors that are associated with mayor officials’ beliefs about stress as a determinant of disparities. This information is important because it can inform the design of interventions to educate city policymakers about evidence related to stress and health disparities. Using data from a 2016 survey of 230 mayor officials (101 mayors, 129 senior staff), multivariable logistic regression was used to determine the extent to which respondents’ individual characteristics (e.g., ideology, highest level of education) and the characteristics of their city’s population (e.g., percentage of residents non-white) were associated with their identification of stress as a factor that has a “very strong effect” on health disparities. Forty-four percent of respondents identified stress as having a very strong effect on health disparities. In the fully adjusted model, every percentage point increase in the proportion of a respondent’s city population that was non-White increased the odds of identifying stress as having a very strong effect on health disparities by 2% [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.02; 95% CI = 1.00,1.04]. Interventions are needed to increase city policymakers’ knowledge about the role of stress in the production of health disparities, which could, in turn, help cultivate political will for city policies that reduce disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-116
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • Health disparities
  • Policy
  • Policymakers
  • Stress
  • Urban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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