Neighborhood Economic Conditions, Social Processes, and Self-Rated Health in Low-Income Neighborhoods in Texas: A Multilevel Latent Variables Model

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This paper develops and tests a comprehensive model to explain the relationships of neighborhood economic indicators to multiple dimensions of neighborhood social and physical organization as well as the pathways through which neighborhood social and physical characteristics influence individual health outcomes. We hypothesized that neighborhood poverty would be associated with lower collective efficacy, lower social capital, higher degrees of social and physical disorder, worse social processes pertaining to children such as trust, and higher degrees of fear of crime and racism. Neighborhood social and physical characteristics were hypothesized to mediate the effect of neighborhood poverty on self-rated health, both directly and indirectly through their influence on neighborhood differences in social support and health behaviors, which in turn affect individual health. The results, based on data from low-income neighborhoods in Texas, USA generally supported the model and indicated that the effect of neighborhood impoverishment on health is mediated by social and physical neighborhood characteristics.



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