Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 93, Issue 3, pp 572–588 | Cite as

Neighborhood Social Resources and Depressive Symptoms: Longitudinal Results from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis

  • Kari A MooreEmail author
  • Jana A. Hirsch
  • Carmella August
  • Christina Mair
  • Brisa N. Sanchez
  • Ana V. Diez Roux


The ways in which a neighborhood environment may affect depression and depressive symptoms have not been thoroughly explored. This study used longitudinal data from 5475 adults in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis to investigate associations of time-varying depressive symptoms between 2000 and 2012 (measured using the 20-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D)) with survey-based measures of neighborhood safety and social cohesion (both individual-level perceptions and neighborhood-level aggregates) and densities of social engagement destinations. Linear mixed models were used to examine associations of baseline cross-sectional associations and cumulative exposures with changes over time in CES-D. Econometric fixed effects models were utilized to investigate associations of within-person changes in neighborhood exposures with within-person changes in CES-D. Adjusting for relevant covariates, higher safety and social cohesion and greater density of social engagement destinations were associated with lower CES-D at baseline. Greater cumulative exposure to these features was not associated with progression of CES-D over 10 years. Within-person increases in safety and in social cohesion were associated with decreases in CES-D, although associations with cohesion were not statistically significant. Social elements of neighborhoods should be considered by community planners and public health practitioners to achieve optimal mental health.


Mental health Depressive symptoms Neighborhoods Social environment Built environment 



This research was supported by contracts N01-HC-95159, N01-HC-95160, N01-HC-95161, N01-HC-95162, N01-HC-95163, N01-HC-95164, N01-HC-95165, N01-HC-95166, N01-HC-95167, N01-HC-95168 and N01-HC-95169 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, by grants UL1-TR-000040 and UL1-TR-001079 from NCRR, by grant R01 HL071759 from National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health, and by grant P60 MD002249 from National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, and by grant 3P60MD002249-05S1 from the Environmental Protection Agency. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH. The authors would like to thank the other investigators, staff, and participants of the MESA study for their valuable contributions. A full list of participating MESA investigators and institutions can be found at We thank Shannon Brines and Melissa Zagorski for creation of the geographic information systems variables and Amanda Dudley for support with license agreements and data acquisition.


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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kari A Moore
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jana A. Hirsch
    • 2
  • Carmella August
    • 3
  • Christina Mair
    • 4
  • Brisa N. Sanchez
    • 5
  • Ana V. Diez Roux
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsDrexel University Dornsife School of Public HealthPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Carolina Population CenterUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Department of EpidemiologyUniversity of Michigan School of Public HealthAnn ArborUSA
  4. 4.Department of Behavioral and Community Health SciencesUniversity of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public HealthPittsburghUSA
  5. 5.Department of BiostatisticsUniversity of Michigan School of Public HealthAnn ArborUSA

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