, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 50-61
Date: 26 Oct 2011

Neighborhood Contexts and the Mediating Role of Neighborhood Social Cohesion on Health and Psychological Distress Among Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Residents

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Abstract

Background

Neighborhood social cohesion (NSC) may contribute to understanding how neighborhood contexts influence the physical and mental health of residents.

Purpose

We examined the relation of NSC to self-rated mental and physical health and evaluated the mediating role of NSC on relations between neighborhood socioeconomic status, ethnic composition, and health.

Methods

A sample of 3,098 Hispanic and non-Hispanic residents within 597 census tracts in metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona rated their health, psychological distress, and their perceptions of NSC. Census tract estimates provided neighborhood contextual measures.

Results

Neighborhood social cohesion was significantly related to better physical and mental health. Both individually rated NSC and neighborhood-level NSC mediated relations between neighborhood contexts and health outcomes. Substantive findings were consistent across Hispanic and non-Hispanic residents.

Conclusions

The findings have implications for improving ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in physical and mental health through attention to social cohesion among neighborhood residents.

This research was based on the doctoral dissertation of the first author.