Perceived and observed neighborhood disorder and psychological distress among young adults

Authors: Louisa Holmes*, University of California San Francisco
Topics: Geography and Urban Health, Medical and Health Geography, Quantitative Methods
Keywords: mental illness, mental health, tobacco control, health geography, urban neighborhoods
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Madison B, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Approximately three percent of the U.S. population suffers from serious psychological distress each year. This number is higher for young adults. Studies have demonstrated that perceived neighborhood disorder is linked to serious psychological distress among adults; however, there has been little systematic research evaluating serious psychological distress as a function of neighborhood characteristics among young adults in particular, and few studies combining measures of perceived and observed neighborhood disorder. Data from the 2014 SF Bay Area Young Adult Health Survey, a probabilistic multimode cross-sectional household survey of young adults (18-26 years of age) in Alameda and San Francisco Counties, and corresponding block group-level assessment data, were used to investigate relationships between neighborhood disorder (perceived and observed) and serious psychological distress. Global and geographically-weighted logistic regressions (GWR) were conducted to measure county- and neighborhood-level associations. Perceived neighborhood disorder was spatially autocorrelated (z=12.5; p=0.0), suggesting that a GWR approach was warranted. Local analysis indicated that perceived disorder was positively associated with serious psychological distress in 677 of 792 block groups in the sample (p<.05), but there were no significant associations with observed disorder. Additional findings show that for every additional unit on the neighborhood social cohesion scale, young adults are 14% less likely to have serious psychological distress (p<.05), for each additional year young adults had resided in their neighborhoods, their odds of having distress increased by 4% (p<.05) and young adults who identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual were three times more likely to experience distress.

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