NIH Research Festival
Background Little is understood about associations between perceived neighborhood characteristics and depression in diverse populations. Therefore, we evaluated the relationship between neighborhood environment perception (NEP) and depression within an urban, predominantly African-American (AA) cohort. Methods We conducted the D.C. Cardiovascular Health and Needs Assessment, a health evaluation among adults (n=100) in resource-limited D.C. communities. Participants responded to questions on overall NEP. Factor analysis identified three NEP sub-scores: (1) neighborhood violence, (2)physical environment, and (3)social cohesion (higher scores=more favorable NEP). Depression was defined by the revised Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CESD-R, higher score=higher depression likelihood). We examined NEP and depression associations in linear regression modeling, adjusting for age, sex, income, and neighborhood deprivation index (NDI). Results Participants (N= 100; mean age = 59; 99% AA) had a mean CESD-R score=5.8 (SD=8.88) and a mean NEP score=56.13 (SD=12.59). In unadjusted models, we found a 0.182 (p=0.003) unit-decrease in depression score for every one unit-increase in NEP. In the fully adjusted models, there was a 0.209 decrease in depression scores for every one unit-increase in overall perception score. Specifically, all factors were significantly related to depression, after adjusting for covariates (neighborhood violence: β=-0.318, p=0.039; physical environment: β=-0.383, p=0.009; social cohesion: β=-0.799, p=0.001). Conclusions More favorable perceptions of one’s neighborhood are related to a lower likelihood of depression in a predominantly AA cohort from Washington, DC resource-limited communities. These results suggest that improving individual perceptions of their neighborhoods may be beneficial in improving the psychological health of urban minority residents.
Scientific Focus Area: Health Disparities
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