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Health Indicators and Residential Proximity to Coal Mining in West Virginia

Introduction

This is a review of an article, Relations Between Health Indicators and Residential Proximity to Coal Mining in West Virginia by Hendryx and Ahern (2008). The review focuses on the purpose of the study, methodology, strengths, weaknesses, presentation of the findings and implications.

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Purpose

Hendryx and Ahern (2008) identified the main purpose of their study as “investigating the relations between health indicators and residential proximity to coal mining” (p. 669). Hence, readers can easily note the aim of the study. Researchers should explicitly state the purpose of their studies for ease of reference to readers.

Method

The authors presented a detailed process of their study methodology. The article clearly states all processes involved in data collection and analysis. For instance, readers can observe that the study was conducted in 2001 in West Virginia through a telephone survey that involved data collection from adults of 19 years old and above and a review of secondary data from the 2000 US Census records. This was necessary to determine the correct age, gender, income, education, insurance status, and other demographic characteristics of participants (Hendryx and Ahern, 2008). There were 16,493 participants from 235 counties. Hence, readers can assume that sampling was adequate because of the large number of participants.

The researchers identified their data analysis techniques as hierarchical analyses. The analyses showed that “high-levels of coal production were associated with worse adjusted health status and with higher rates of cardiopulmonary disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, lung disease, and kidney disease “(Hendryx and Ahern, 2008, p. 669).

On ethical issues, the researchers noted that the research invovlved anonymous respondents and a review of secondary data, which did not require any approval from the institutional review board.

Strengths

This study has a vigorous data collection and analysis strategies with a robust standard for errors. The researchers provided for two alternatives about the results i.e., subjects were either current or earlier residents in West Virginia. They also conducted a further multilevel model analysis for women (outcomes not indicated) because coal miners were mainly men, but the outcome remained statistically significant (Hendryx and Ahern, 2008). One can also follow the methodology because of its clarity.

The study results support previous findings by other researchers (Ibald-Mulli, Stieber, Wichmann, Koenig and Peters, 2001).

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Weaknesses

Data were collected through self-reporting about health status of participants. Therefore, it was difficult to ascertain the bias of the responses. Self-reporting exposes data to personal bias. The researchers did not indicate how they controlled such bias in the study. The study also had several limitations. First, they identified possible confounding variables and ecological design, such as smoking habits and other occupational exposure, which could have affected the results. Second, only 55 percent of the target population responded. This restricted any possibilities of generalizing the study findings to a large population. Third, the study also noted that proximity to mining sites was not perfect with regard to counties of residence. Fourth, the researcher pointed out that the nature of the survey design could have facilitated underreporting of coal miners health status. Finally, the study used nonspecific measures on cancer, which could not be effective in identifying cancer conditions among coal miners.

These are serious limitations in any scientific study, which compromise the outcome of the research.

Implication

While the study showed that residential proximity to mining sites could expose individuals to health risks, further confirmatory studies are necessary to determine confounding variables related to exposure.

References

Hendryx, M., and Ahern, M. M. (2008). Relations Between Health Indicators and Residential Proximity to Coal Mining in West Virginia. American Journal of Public Health, 98(4), 669–671.

Ibald-Mulli, A., Stieber, J., Wichmann, H. E., Koenig, W., and Peters, A. (2001). Effects of air pollution on blood pressure: a population-based approach. American Journal of Public Health, 91, 571–577.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, August 6). Health Indicators and Residential Proximity to Coal Mining in West Virginia. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/health-indicators-and-residential-proximity-to-coal-mining-in-west-virginia/

Reference

StudyCorgi. (2022, August 6). Health Indicators and Residential Proximity to Coal Mining in West Virginia. https://studycorgi.com/health-indicators-and-residential-proximity-to-coal-mining-in-west-virginia/

Work Cited

"Health Indicators and Residential Proximity to Coal Mining in West Virginia." StudyCorgi, 6 Aug. 2022, studycorgi.com/health-indicators-and-residential-proximity-to-coal-mining-in-west-virginia/.

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StudyCorgi. "Health Indicators and Residential Proximity to Coal Mining in West Virginia." August 6, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/health-indicators-and-residential-proximity-to-coal-mining-in-west-virginia/.

References

StudyCorgi. 2022. "Health Indicators and Residential Proximity to Coal Mining in West Virginia." August 6, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/health-indicators-and-residential-proximity-to-coal-mining-in-west-virginia/.

References

StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Health Indicators and Residential Proximity to Coal Mining in West Virginia'. 6 August.

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