Identifying Perceived Neighborhood Stressors Across Diverse Communities in New York City
- 772 Downloads
There is growing interest in the role of psychosocial stress in health disparities. Identifying which social stressors are most important to community residents is critical for accurately incorporating stressor exposures into health research. Using a community-academic partnered approach, we designed a multi-community study across the five boroughs of New York City to characterize resident perceptions of key neighborhood stressors. We conducted 14 community focus groups; two to three in each borough, with one adolescent group and one Spanish-speaking group per borough. We then used systematic content analysis and participant ranking data to describe prominent neighborhood stressors and identify dominant themes. Three inter-related themes regarding the social and structural sources of stressful experiences were most commonly identified across neighborhoods: (1) physical disorder and perceived neglect, (2) harassment by police and perceived safety and (3) gentrification and racial discrimination. Our findings suggest that multiple sources of distress, including social, political, physical and economic factors, should be considered when investigating health effects of community stressor exposures and psychological distress. Community expertise is essential for comprehensively characterizing the range of neighborhood stressors that may be implicated in psychosocial exposure pathways.
KeywordsGentrification Physical disorder Police-community dynamics Psychosocial stressors Racism
Compliance with Ethical Standard
This work was supported by US EPA Grant #RD-83457601-0.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Balzas, C. L., & Morello-Frosch, R. (2013). The three R’s: How community based participatory research strengthens the rigor, relevance and reach of science. Environmental Justice, 6(1), 9–16. doi: 10.1089/env.2012.0017.
- Cohen, S., Kessler, R. C., & Underwood, G. L. (1995). Measuring stress: A guide for health and social scientists. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Contrada, R. J., & Baum, A. (Eds.). (2010). The handbook of stress science: Biology, psychology and health. New York: Springer Publiching Company, LLC.Google Scholar
- Corburn, J., Osleeb, J., & Porter, M. (2006). Urban asthma and the neighborhood environment in New York City. Journal of Urban Health, 12(2), 167–179.Google Scholar
- Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). (2003). In Framework for Cumulative Risk Assessment. PA/630/P-02/001A. Washington, DC: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Risk Assessment Forum, Office of Research and Development.Google Scholar
- Ferrar, K. J., Kriesky, J., Christen, C. L., et al. (2013). Assessment and longitudinal analysis of health impacts and stressors perceived to result from unconventional shale gas development in the Marcellus Shale region. International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, 19(2), 104–112.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Glass, T. A., Bandeen-Roche, K., McAtee, M., Bolla, K., Todd, A. C., & Schwartz, B. S. (2009). Neighborhood psychosocial hazards and the association of cumulative lead dose with cognitive function in older adults. American Journal of Epidemiology, 169(6), 683–692.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hacker, K. A. (2013). Community-based participatory research. California: SAGE Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
- Institute of Medicine (IOM). (1999). Toward environmental justice: Research, education and health policy needs. Washington DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
- Karpati, A., Kerker, B., Mostashari, F., et al. (2004). Health disparities in New York City. New York: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.Google Scholar
- Lewis, A., Sax, S. N., Wason, S. C., & Campleman, S. L. (2011). Non-chemical stressors and cumulative risk assessment: An overview of current initiatives and potential air pollution interactions. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 8(6), 2020–2073.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC). County Maps Showing Potential Environmental Justice Areas. Available http://www.dec.ny.gov/public/899.html.
- Patton, M. Q. (1999). Enhancing the quality and credibility of qualitative analysis. Health Services Research, 34(5 Pt 2), 1190–1208.Google Scholar
- Sampson, R., & Morenoff, J. (2004). Spatial (dis)advantage and homicide in Chicago neighborhoods. In M. Goodchild & D. Janelle (Eds.), Spatially integrated social science. Oxford: New York, NY.Google Scholar
- Shmool, J. L. C., Kubzansky, L. D., Dotson Newman, O., Spengler, J. D., Shepard, P., & Clougherty, J. E. (2014). Social stressors and air pollution across New York City communities: A spatial approach for assessing correlations among multiple exposures. Environmental Health, 13, 91.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar