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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 98, Issue 4, pp 292–296 | Cite as

What You See Is What You Get?

Questioning the Relationship Between Objective and Subjective Appraisals of Neighbourhood Resources in Relation to Health
  • Katherine L. FrohlichEmail author
  • Jennifer L. Bodnarchuk
  • Dan Château
  • Leslie Roos
  • Shirley Forsyth
Article

Abstract

Background

Some research concerned with place and health has used the study of opportunity structures in neighbourhoods to understand how place might get under the skin. It has become somewhat common to assume that objective indicators of opportunity structures are in some way equivalent to people’s access to them. The general objective of this study, therefore, was to evaluate the level of convergence between objective and subjective evaluations of neighbourhood resources in Winnipeg, Canada.

Methods

Winnipeg residents (n=1,102) were sampled from 59 neighbourhood units to permit hierarchical linear modelling and to enable the testing of Winnipeg residents’ individual-level subjective appraisals within neighbourhood-level objective characteristics. Several databases provided objective neighbourhood data on premature mortality rates, crime, housing, recreation programs, education, and household income. To evaluate subjective appraisals of these resources, data were gathered from the Winnipeg Quality of Life Survey (WQLS).

Results

We found that, when controlling for individual- and neighbourhood-level confounders, the objective data at hand match relatively well with participants’ subjective perceptions of housing and crime, while neighbourhood-level premature mortality rates and the objective numbers of recreation programs across neighbourhood are not significant predictors of their subjective counterparts.

Conclusion

It may be that objective measures of some opportunity structures should be accompanied by subjective measures to ensure a more complete understanding of the impact of these resources on population health.

MeSH terms

Health resources residence characteristics population health Manitoba 

Résumé

Contexte

Quelques recherches qui s’intéressent aux rapports entre le lieu et la santé se sont inspirées de l’étude des « structures de possibilités » présentes dans les quartiers pour comprendre comment les milieux de vie affectent notre santé. On prend souvent pour acquis que les indicateurs objectifs des structures de possibilités équivalent grosso modo à l’utilisation de ces structures par la population. Nous avons voulu vérifier le degré de convergence entre les évaluations objectives et subjectives des ressources des quartiers à Winnipeg, au Canada.

Méthodes

Des résidants de Winnipeg (n=1 102) ont été échantillonnés dans 59 unités de voisinage afin de permettre une modélisation linéaire hiérarchique et pour mesurer les évaluations subjectives des résidants de Winnipeg par rapport aux caractéristiques objectives des quartiers. Plusieurs banques de données ont fourni des données objectives par quartier sur les taux de mortalité prématurée, la criminalité, le logement, les programmes récréatifs, l’instruction et le revenu des ménages. Pour mesurer les évaluations subjectives de ces ressources, nous avons regroupé des données tirées de l’enquête Winnipeg Quality of Life Survey (WQLS).

Résultats

Nous avons constaté, après rajustement des données pour tenir compte des facteurs de confusion individuels et collectifs, que les données objectives étaient à peu près équivalentes à la perception subjective des participants en ce qui a trait au logement et à la criminalité, mais que les taux de mortalité prématurée et le nombre réel de programmes récréatifs dans les quartiers n’étaient pas des prédicteurs significatifs de leurs équivalents subjectifs.

Conclusion

Pour mieux comprendre l’impact de certaines structures de possibilités sur la santé de la population, il faudrait peut-être ajouter des mesures subjectives de ces ressources aux mesures objectives déjà utilisées.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine L. Frohlich
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jennifer L. Bodnarchuk
    • 1
  • Dan Château
    • 2
  • Leslie Roos
    • 2
  • Shirley Forsyth
    • 2
  1. 1.Université de MontréalGroupe de Recherche Interdisciplinaire en Santé (GRIS)MontréalCanada
  2. 2.MCHP–Manitoba Centre for Health PolicyUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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