Residential Crowding in the Context of Inner City Poverty

  • Gary W. Evans
  • Susan Saegert

Abstract

The accumulation of stressful experiences leads to increased risk for adverse outcomes as the adaptive capabilities of the organism are increasingly challenged. If this proposition is correct, then an important omission in environmental stress research has been the examination of crowding, noise, pollution, heat, poor housing quality, and other physical stressors in isolation of the naturalistic contexts in which they normally occur (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Cohen, Evans, Stokols, & Krantz, 1986; Petrinovich, 1979). This chapter examines residential crowding from an ecological perspective. Crowding is one among several, adverse environmental conditions more likely to occur for poor households and among ethnic minority families. The concentration of low income households in the inner city brings with it heightened exposure to environmental stressors. Housing in the inner city is often both relatively expensive and small. Those with limited financial resources must compromise on the size as well as the quality of their housing. Moreover, low income, minority families often must accept housing in less desirable neighborhoods characterized by poor physical conditions such as noise, pollution, physical decay, as well as cope with inadequate public services. These constraints on residential choice are magnified for ethnic minorities by housing discrimination or the need to be proximate to others who share a common language and culture.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Aiello, J. R., Epstein, Y., & Karlin, R. (1975). Effects of crowding on electrodermal activity. Sociological Symposium, 14,42–57.Google Scholar
  2. Aiello, J. R., Nicosia, G., & Thompson, D. (1979). Physiological, social, and behavioral consequences of crowding on children and adolescents. Child Development, 50, 195–202.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aiken, L., & West, S. (1991). Multiple regression. Los Angeles: Sage.Google Scholar
  4. Attar, B., Guerra, N., & Tolan, P. (1994). Neighborhood disadvantage, stressful life events and adjustments in urban elementary school children. Journal of Child Clinical Psychology,23, 391–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barocas, R., Seiffer, R., & Sameroff, A. (1993). Defining risk: Multiple dimensions of psychological vulnera-bility. American Journal of Community Psychology,13, 433–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baron, R., & Kenny, D. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1173–1182.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Baum, A., Aiello, J. R., & Calesnick, L. (1978). Crowding and personal control: Social density and the devel-opment of learned helplessness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36, 1000–1011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Baum, A., Gatchel, R., Aiello, J. R., & Thompson, D. (1981). Cognitive mediation of environmental stress. In J. Harvey (Ed.), Cognition, social behavior and the environment (pp. 513–533). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  9. Baum, A., & Grunberg, N. (1995). Measurement of stress hormones. In S. Cohen, R. C. Kessler, & L. Gordon (Eds.), Measuring stress (pp. 175–192). NY: Oxford.Google Scholar
  10. Booth, A., & Johnson, D. (1975). Crowding and family relations. American Sociological Review,41, 308–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Boyle, M., & Jones, S. (1985). Selecting measures of emotional and behavioral disorders of childhood for use in general populations. Journal of Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry, 26,137–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bradley, R., & Caldwell, B. (1984).The HOME inventory and family demographics. Developmental Psychology,20, 315–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Brody, G., Stonemant, Z., & Flor, D. (1996). Parental religiosity, family processes, and youth competence in rural, two parent African American families. Developmental Psychology, 32,696–706.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cam-bridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Bronfenbrenner, U., & Morris, P. (1998). The ecology of developmental process. In W. Damon, & R. Lerner (Eds.). Handbook of child development, vol. 1 (pp. 992–1028). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  16. Brown, L., & Cowen, E. (1988). Children’s judgments of event upsettingness and personal experiencing of stressful events. American Journal of Community Psychology,16, 123–135.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Carter, N., & Beh, H. (1989). The effect of intermittent noise on cardiovascular functioning during vigilance task performance. Psychophysiology, 26,548–559.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Caspi, A., Bolger, N., & Eckenrode, J. (1987). Linking person and context in the daily stress process. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,52, 184–195.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cesana, G, Ferrario, M., Curti, R., Zanettini, R., Grieco, A., Sega, R., Palermo, A., Mara, G., Libretti, A., & Alergri, S. (1982). Work-stress and urinary catecholamine excretion in shift workers exposed to noise. La Medicina del Lavoro, 2, 99–109.Google Scholar
  20. Children’s Defense Fund. (1985). Black and white children in America: Key Facts. Washington, DC: Children’s Defense Fund.Google Scholar
  21. Cohen, J., & Cohen, P. (1983). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences,2nd. ed. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  22. Cohen, S., Evans, G. W, Stokols, D., & Krantz, D. S. (1986). Behavior, health, and environmental stress. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  23. Conger, R. D., Conger, K., Elder, G., Lorenz, F., Simons, R., & Whitbeck, L. (1992). A family process model of economic hardship and adjustment of early adolescent boys. Child Development, 63, 526–541.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Conger, R. D., Ge., X., Elder, G., Lorenz, E, & Simons, R. (1994). Economic stress, coercive family process, and developmental problems of adolescents. Child Development, 65, 541–561.Google Scholar
  25. Conrad, D. (1973). The effects of intermittent noise on human serial decoding performance and physiological response. Ergonomics, 16,739–747.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Cottington, E., Matthews, K., Talbott, E., & Kuller, R. (1983). Occupational stress and diastolic blood pressure in a blue collar population: The Pittsburgh noise-hypertension project. Annual Meeting for the Society of Epidemiology. Winnipeg, Manitoba.Google Scholar
  27. D’Atri, D. (1975). Psychophysiological responses to crowding. Environment and Behavior, 7, 237–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Dodge, K., Pettit, G., & Bates, J. (1994). Socialization mediators of the relation between socioeconomic status and child conduct problems. Child Development, 54, 649–665.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Dubow, E., Tisak, J., Casuey, D., Hryshko, A., & Reid, G. (1991). A two-year longitudinal study of stressful life events, social support, and social problem solving skills: Contributions to children’s behavioral and academic adjustment. Child Development, 62, 583–599.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Duncan, G., Brooks-Gunn, J., & Klebanov, P. (1994). Economic deprivation and early childhood development. Child Development, 65, 296–318.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Edleman, M. (1985). The sea is so wide and my boat is so small. In H. Mc Adoo, J. Mc Adoo (Eds.), Handbook of health psychology (pp. 456–489). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  32. El-Sheikh, M., Cummings, E., & Goetsch, V. (1989). Coping with adults angry behavior: Behavioral, physio-logical, and verbal responses in preschoolers. Developmental Psychology, 25,490–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Elder, G., Nguyen, T., & Caspi, A. (1985). Linking family hardship to children’s lives. Child Development, 56, 361–375.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Evans, G. W. (1979). Behavioral and physiological consequences of crowding. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 9, 27–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Evans, G. W. (in press). Environmental stress and health. In A. Baum, T. Revenson, & J. E. Singer (Eds.), Handbook of health psychology. Mahweh, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  36. Evans, G. W., Allen, K., Tafalla, R., & O’Meara, T. (1996). Multiple stressors: Performance, psychophysiologic, and affective responses. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 16,147–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Evans, G. W., & Carrere, S. (1991). Traffic congestion, perceived control, and psychophysiological stress among urban bus drivers. Journal of Applied Psychology, 76, 658–663.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Evans, G. W., Jacobs, S. V., Dooley, D., & Catalano, R. (1987). Stressful life events and chronic stress. American Journal of Community Psychology,15, 125–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Evans, G. W., & Lepore, S. J. (1993). Household crowding and social support: A quasi-experimental analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 308–316.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Evans, G. W., & Lepore, S. J. (1997). Moderating and mediating processes in environment-behavior research. In G. T. Moore, & R. W. Marans (Eds.), Advances in environment, behavior,and design, vol. 4 (pp. 255–285). NY: Plenum.Google Scholar
  41. Evans, G. W., Lepore, S. J., Shejwal, B., & Palsane, M. N. (1998). Chronic residential crowding and children’s well being: An ecological perspective. Child Development, 69, 1514–1523.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Evans, G. W., Maxwell, L. E., & Hart, B. (1999). Parental language and verbal responsiveness to children in crowded homes. Developmental Psychology, 35,1020–1023.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Evans, G. W., Palsane, M. N., Lepore, S. J., & Martin, J. (1989). Residential density and psychological health: The mediating effects of social support. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 994–999.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Fleming, I., Baum, A., Davidson, L., Rectanus, E., & Mc Ardle, S. (1987). Chronic stress as a factor in physiologic reactivity to challenge. Health Psychology, 6, 221–237.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Gad, M., & Johnson, J. (1980). Correlates of adolescent life stress as related to race, SES, and levels of perceived support. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 9, 13–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Garbarino, J., Durbrow, W., Kosteleny, K., & Porter, C. (1992). Children in danger: Coping with the consequences of community violence. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  47. Garmezy, N., Masten, A., & Tellegen, A. (1984). The study of stress and competence in children: A building block for developmental psychopathology. Child Development, 55, 97–111.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Ghiselli, E., Campbell, J., & Zedeck, S. (1981). Measurement theory for the behavioral sciences. San Francisco: Freeman.Google Scholar
  49. Gibbs, J. (1984). Black adolescents and youth: An endangered species. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry,54,6–21.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Gove, W., & Hughes, M. (1983). Overcrowding in the household. New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  51. Grunberg, N., & Singer, J. E. (1990). Biochemical measurement. In J. Cacciopo, & L. Tassinary (Eds.), Principles of psychophysiology (pp. 149–176). NY: Cambridge.Google Scholar
  52. Guerra, N., Huesmann, L., Tolan, P., Van Acker, R., & Eron, L. (1995). Stressful events and individual beliefs as correlates of economic disadvantage and aggression among urban children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 53, 518–528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Harter, S. (1982). The perceived competence scale for children. Child Development, 53, 87–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Hashima, P., & Amato, P. (1994). Poverty, social support, and parental behavior. Child Development, 65, 394–403.Google Scholar
  55. Heshka, S., & Pylypuk, A. (1975). Human crowding and adrenocortical activity. Paper presented at the Canadian Psychological Association. Montreal.Google Scholar
  56. House, J., Mc Michael, A., Wells, J., Kaplan, B., & Landerman, L. (1979). Occupational stress and health among factory workers. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 20,139–160.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Huston, A., Mc Loyd, V., & Coll, C. (1994). Children and poverty: Issues in contemporary research. Child Development, 65,275–282.Google Scholar
  58. Ising, H., Dienel, D., Gunther, T., & Markert, B. (1980). Health effects of traffic noise. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health,47, 179–190.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Kaplan, S. (1995). The restorative benefits of nature: Toward an integrative framework. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 15, 169–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Kaslow, N., Deering, C., & Rascusin, G. (1994). Depressed children and their families. Clinical Psychology Review, 14,39–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Lepore, S. J., & Evans, G. W. (1996). Coping with multiple stressors in the environment. In M. Zeidner, & N. Endler (Eds.). Handbook of coping (pp. 350–377). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  62. Lepore, S. J., Evans, G. W., & Palsane, M. N. (1991). Social hassles and psychological health in the context of crowding. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 32,357–367.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Lepore, S. J., Evans, G. W., & Schneider, M. (1991). The dynamic role of social support in the link between chronic stress and psychological distress. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 899–909.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Lercher, E, Hortnagl, J., & Kofler, W. (1993). Work noise annoyance and blood pressure: Combined effects with stressful working conditions. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health,65, 23–28.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Lewisohn, E, Roberts, R., Seeley, J., Rohde, E, Gotlib, I., & Hops, H. (1994). Adolescent psychopathology II. Psychological risk factors for depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 103,302–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Lundberg, U. (1976). Urban commuting: Crowdedness and catecholamine excretion. Journal of Human Stress, 2, 26–34.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Lundberg, U. (1985). Catecholamines. In A. Steptoe (Ed.), Assessment of sympathetic nervous function in human stress research (pp. 26–41). London: Ciba Foundation.Google Scholar
  68. Martinez, P., & Richters, J. (1993). The NIMH community violence project II. Children’s distress symptoms associated with violence exposure. Psychiatry,56, 22–35.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. Masten, A., Garmezy, N., Tellegen, A., Pelligrini, D., Larkin, K., & Larsen, A. (1987). Competence and stress in school children: The moderating effects of individual and family qualities. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 29, 745–764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Matheny, A., Wachs, T. D., Ludwig, J., & Phillips, K. (1995). Bringing order out of chaos: Psychometric characteristics of the confusion, hubbub, and order scale. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 16,429–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Matthews, K. A., Gump, B., Block, D., & Allen, M. (1997). Does background stress heighten or dampen children’s cardiovascular responses to acute stress? Psychosomatic Medicine, 59, 488–496.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  72. Maxwell, L. E. (1996). Multiple effects of home and day care crowding. Environment and Behavior, 28, 494–511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Mc Carthy, D., & Saegert, S. (1979). Residential density, social overload and social withdrawal. Human Ecology,16, 253–271.Google Scholar
  74. Mc Loyd, V. C. (1990). The impact of economic hardship on black families and children: Psychological distress, parenting, and socioemotional development. Child Development, 61,311–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Mc Loyd, V. C. (1998). Socioeconomic disadvantage and child development. American Psychologist, 53,185–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Mc Loyd, V. C., Jayaratne, T., Cebello, R., & Boquet, J. (1994). Unemployment and work interruption among African American single mothers: Effects on parenting and adolescent socioemotional functioning. Child Development, 65, 562–589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Mitchell, R. (1981). Some social implications of high density housing. American Sociological Review, 36, 18–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Mosskov, J., & Ettema, J. (1977). Extra-auditory effects of short term exposure to aircraft and traffic noise. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 40, 165–173.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Murray, R. (1974). The influence of crowding on children’s behavior. In D. Canter, & T. Lee (Eds.), Psychology and the built environment (pp. 112–117). Chichester, UK: Wiley.Google Scholar
  80. Osofsky, J. (1995). The effects of exposure to violence on young children. American Psychologist, 50,782–788.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Paulus, P. B., Mc Gain, G., & Cox, V. (1978). Death rates, psychiatric commitments, blood pressure, and per-ceived crowding as a function of institutional crowding. Environmental Psychology and Nonverbal Behavior,3, 107–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Petrinovich, L. (1979). Probablistic functionalism. American Psychologist, 34,373–390.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Richters, J. (1993). Toward a developmental perspective on conduct disorder. Developmental Psychopathology, 5, 1–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Richters, J., & Martinez, P. (1993). Violent communities, family choices, and children’s chances: An algorithm for improving the odds. Developmental Psychopathology, 5, 609–627.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Riggin, R., & Kissinger, P. (1977). Determination of catecholamines in urine by reverse phase, liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection. Analytic Chemistry, 49, 2109–2111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Rodin, J. (1976). Crowding, perceived choice and response to controllable and uncontrollable outcomes. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,12, 564–578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Rutter, M. (1983). Stress, coping, and development. In N. Garmezy, & M. Rutter (Eds.). Stress,coping, and development (pp. 1–42). New York: Mc Graw Hill.Google Scholar
  88. Rutter, M., Tizard, J., & Whitmore, K. (1970). Education, health, and behavior. London: Longmans.Google Scholar
  89. Rutter, M. Yule, B., Quinton, D., Rowlands, O. Yule, W, & Berger, M. (1974). Attainment and adjustment in two geographic areas: Some factors accounting for area differences. British Journal of Psychiatry, 125, 520–533.Google Scholar
  90. Saegert, S. (1982). Environment and children’s mental health: Residential density and low income children. In A. Baum, & J. E. Singer (Eds.), Handbook of psychology and health (pp. 247–271). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  91. Sameroff, A., Seiffer, R., Baldwin, A., & Baldwin, C. (1993). Stability of intelligence from preschool to ado-lescence: The influence of social and family risk factors. Child Development, 64, 80–97.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Sameroff, A., Seiffer, R., Barocas, R., Zax, M., & Greenspan, S. (1987). Intelligence quotient scores of 4 year old children: Social-environmental risk factors. Pediatrics, 79, 343–350.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  93. Sampson, R. (1992). Family management and child development: Insights from social disorganization theory. In J. McCord (Ed.), Facts, frameworks, and forecasts: Advances in criminology (pp. 63–93). New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers.Google Scholar
  94. Sherrod, D. (1974). Crowding, perceived control, and behavioral aftereffects. Journal of Applied Psychology,4, 171–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Taylor, S., Repetti, R., & Seeman, T. (1997). Health psychology: What is an unhealthy environment and how does it get under the skin? Annual Review of Psychology, 48,411–447.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Tulkin, S. R. (1977). Social class differences in maternal and infant behavior. In P. Liederman, A. Rosenfeld, & S. R. Tulkin (Eds.), Culture and infancy (pp. 495–536). NY: Academic.Google Scholar
  97. Wachs, T. D. (1989). The nature of the physical microenvironment: An expanded classification system. Merrill Palmer Quarterly, 35,399–419.Google Scholar
  98. Wachs, T. D., & Gruen, G. (1982). Early experience and human development. NY: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Wandersman, A., & Nation, M. (1998). Urban neighborhoods and mental health. American Psychologist, 53, 647–656.Google Scholar
  100. Wedge, P., & Petzing, J. (1970). Housing for children. Housing Review, 19,165–166.Google Scholar
  101. Welch, B. (1979). Extra-auditory health effects of industrial noise: A survey of foreign literature. Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory. Wright Patterson Air Force Base. AHRL-TR-79–41.Google Scholar
  102. Wilson, J. (1987). The truly disadvantaged. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  103. Woodall, K., & Matthews, K. A. (1989). Familial environment associated with Type A behaviors and psychophysiological responses to stress in children. Health Psychology, 8, 403–426.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Work, W., Cowen, E., Parker, G., & Wyman, P. (1990). Stress resilient children in an urban setting. Journal of Primary Prevention, 11,3–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  105. Wyman, P., Cowen, E., Work, W., & Parker, G. (1991). Developmental and family milieu correlates of resilience in urban children who have experienced major life stress. American Journal of Community Psychology, 19,405–426.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary W. Evans
    • 1
  • Susan Saegert
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Design & Environmental AnalysisCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Graduate Center CUNYEnvironmental PsychologyNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations