The Neighborhood and Mental Life: Past, Present, and Future Sociological Directions in Studying Community Context and Mental Health

  • Richard M. Carpiano
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Sociology book series (BRIEFSSOCY)


The two decade history of the ASA Section on the Sociology of Mental Health has coincided with a period of tremendous resurgence in the study of how neighborhoods and local places contribute to mental health—a topic that has become a popular focus for mental health sociologists. In considering the sociological contributions to this area of study, the present chapter has two aims. The first aim is to provide the reader with an appreciation of sociological research on local places and mental health. To achieve this, I discuss some important research streams of sociological inquiry on local places and mental health over the past 20 years as well as seminal scholarship that dates back to the start of sociology as a formal discipline. The second aim is to discuss future directions for research. In doing so, I identify several key conceptual and substantive issues that I argue are important for advancing sociology of mental health research on the consequences of local places—for mental and physical health.


Mental Health Mental Illness Social Capital Mental Health Outcome Collective Efficacy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I authored this work while receiving funding from Investigator Awards from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. I express sincere thanks to Stephanie Robert and Margaret Weden, who through many fruitful e-mail exchanges on this topic facilitated some of my thinking in preparing several parts of this chapter (whether they realize it or not). All the assertions and conclusions as well as any errors and omissions in this chapter, however, are solely my own.


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© The Author(s) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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