Papers of the Week: 01/2012

I’ll keep this brief, since I should be doing far less useful things than posting while on holiday.  But here are three that caught my eye:

1. Qualitative research on sexual relationships is so important in interpretting sexual behaviours.  Especially partner types, as discussed here by Noar and colleagues.  I do note that many examples of this type of study focus on minorities (often by sexual preference or race/ethnicity).  One day I should probably look at the variation in findings by such factors, but I’m lazy when it comes to meta-analyses or just pulling together whole literatures.

2. I often find interesting, but not immediately useful, stuff in the Milbank Quarterly.  The latest edition has a piece using the Earned Income Tax Credit as an IV to measure the impact of income change on health status (both self-reported) at the individual level.  Larrimore finds a correlation in levels between income and health status, but not an effect in changes (i.e. more income to better health).  As the author notes, etiologic period is key here, and these effects are short-run, but it’s always good to be reminded that correlation and causation are very different things.

3.  And finally a quickie – state inequality is associated with a higher familial burden for children with special healthcare needs in the USA.  Not shocking, but another brick in the evidential wall that unequal states are less supportive than others.

NB.  As ever, I haven’t read these papers in detail and cannot vouch for them – they are just the abstracts/titles that caught my eye this week.