Neighborhood Social Cohesion and Depression Scores
Social conditions such as cohesion have an impact on neighborhood conditions, which have been linked to psychological distress and mental health (Mair et al., 2015). Considerably, neighborhoods can be more socially cohesive and less stressful if they are safer and less violent. Individuals that are living in neighborhoods with less violence and stress have high social cohesion and low depressive symptoms. High social cohesion can mitigate the levels of stress at an individual and community level.
Neighborhood social cohesion has played an essential role in mitigating the impacts of broad political and economic dynamics, such as racism and poverty. Considerably, living conditions greatly impact the mental, social, and physical health. For instance, a high-income neighborhood may lead to an increased feeling of safety as compared to low-income neighborhoods where individuals feel less secure due to increased crime and violence. Ideally, prolonged exposure to disadvantaged neighborhoods significantly leads to incidences of poor health (Kravitz-Wirtz, 2016).
The degree to which one identifies with their neighbors and feels safe impacts the overall mental health. Low cohesion even makes it more difficult for individuals to come together and foster improvements. At a community level, cohesion has played an essential role in mitigating the influence of political and economic dynamics such as racism and concentrated poverty. Greater neighborhood social cohesion has been linked to reducing depressive symptoms and increased physical activity (Mair et al., 2015). For instance, most of the Latinos in the United States live in communities that have unhealthy environments such as overcrowded and old housing, limited access to recreational facilities as well as more traffic. These conditions have inhibited a healthy lifestyle, which can lead to psychological distresses.
High crime rates, neighborhood disorders, and poverty have led to low social cohesion (Mair et al., 2015). Another reason why neighborhood social cohesion affects mental health and depression score is that the community social cohesion is characterized by a trusting relationship among individuals in the community, which is defined by the characteristics of the people. For instance, high crime rates and low socio-economic status impact the relationship among the people that increased levels of psychological stress. On the other hand, physical activities and recreational activities in the neighborhood support cohesion and reduce depressive symptoms.
Kravitz-Wirtz, N. (2016). Cumulative effects of growing up in separate and unequal neighborhoods on racial disparities in self-rated health in early adulthood. Journal of health and social behavior, 57(4), 453-470.
Mair, C., Roux, A. D., Golden, S. H., Rapp, S., Seeman, T., & Shea, S. (2015). Change in neighborhood environments and depressive symptoms in New York City: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Health & place, 32, 93-98.
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