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Negative Life Events Vary by Neighborhood and Mediate the Relation Between Neighborhood Context and Psychological Well-Being
King, K. AND C. Ogle. Negative Life Events Vary by Neighborhood and Mediate the Relation Between Neighborhood Context and Psychological Well-Being. PLoS ONE . Public Library of Science, San Francisco, CA, 9(4):93539, (2014).
Although a considerable amount of neighborhood research has addressed how fear of negative events may activate stress responses, few studies have noted the potentially embedded nature of negative life events within spatial riskscapes. Co-occurring contextual social and physical hazards may be correlated with individual risk factors, including life events, which may exacerbate disparities. Understanding the factors that increase the risk of exposure to negative life events is important given that negative life events can exert adverse effects on physical and mental health. The present analysis uses a clustered representative sample of Chicago residents in 2001-03 (Chicago Community Adult Health Survey, n=3,105) to examine cross-sectional associations between recent negative life events and various characteristics of residential context. A range of neighborhood features predicted negative life events. Most life events were spatially correlated at levels similar to or larger than most health outcomes studied in neighborhood context. Total recent negative events, events directed at the respondent, and hardships, but not traumas, showed substantial neighborhood clustering even after adjustment for socioeconomic status and were associated with features of neighborhoods. Having recently experienced a negative life event mediates the association of two neighborhood contextual features (disadvantage and disorder) and three measures of health (self-rated, depression, anxiety). The indirect paths between context and health traced through life event exposure were much more strongly significant than the direct relationships between context and health. Narratives linking neighborhood problems and health have typically attributed psychosocial pathways as due to stress responses to everyday daily conditions there, but these findings demonstrate that exposure to actual negative life events is a distinct pathway beyond fear of events, and events experienced by a few may be an powerful stress-related pathway linking context and health.
The study has two aims: first, to demonstrate that increased risk of negative life events is an important mechanism by which deleterious neighborhood effects may influence downstream health outcomes, and second, to provide evidence that life events are not purely exogenous shocks but rather are correlated with exposures to other risks and resources in one’s environment.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB
ENVIRONMENTAL PUBLIC HEALTH DIVISION