Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Development and Family Science


Human Development and Family Science

First Advisor

Sue K. Adams


When discussing chronic illnesses, it is important to consider how factors such as socioeconomic status (SES) and health insurance impact the presence of chronic illness in the lives of adults. Most prior research on this topic addresses the association between health insurance type and an individual's access to healthcare services, but fails to directly address the association between health insurance type and chronic illness outcomes. Therefore, the purpose of the current study is to explore associations among poverty status, health insurance type, and chronic illness outcomes of adults in early midlife. An exploratory hypothesis was tested using a Mann-Whitney test and independent samples t-test, while the primary hypotheses were tested using chi-square tests of association and a logistic regression model. Results indicated that public health insurance and living in poverty were predictors of chronic illnesses in adults. Sex assigned at birth, education level, and race were also significant predictors of chronic illness outcomes. Specific findings regarding race indicated that Black individuals are 38% more likely to have chronic illnesses, American Indian individuals were 44% more likely to have chronic illnesses, and Other races were 50.1% less likely to have chronic illnesses. Implications include implementing a system that allows professionals to reflect on their personal biases and expand health insurance coverage to meet the needs of diverse population groups. Areas for future research include assessing the impact of poverty and health insurance on the quality of life for individuals with a chronic illness, conducting longitudinal studies on the impacts of childhood well-being on chronic illness outcomes later in life, and studying protective factors for the health of diverse population groups.



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