205835 Disentangling mechanisms linking neighborhood environments and child well-being

Monday, November 9, 2009: 1:15 PM

Amy Carroll-Scott, PhD, MPH , School of Public Health, Community Alliance for Research and Engagement, Yale University, New Haven, CT
BACKGROUND: A growing literature demonstrates that the neighborhood in which an individual lives may play a significant role in explaining persistent socioeconomic and racial/ethnic health disparities. Although the majority of this research has focused on adults, several studies have shown neighborhood effects on child behavioral problems and mental health, with fewer examining child health outcomes. This study empirically tests two of the hypothesized mechanisms linking neighborhoods and child well-being - structural and social environments. METHODS: A sample of 2,454 children ages 3-17 was drawn from the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey. Outcomes included child health status and behavioral problems. Neighborhood-level structural characteristics were taken from the US Census, and social process scales were recreated from Sampson and colleagues' measures developed in Chicago. Three-level multilevel models were employed, in order to parse out the effects of family and neighborhood characteristics. RESULTS: Results revealed only a singular significant neighborhood-level effect, a negative influence of percentage of neighborhood Latino residents on child health status. Levels of neighborhood social processes did not affect this relationship, whereas child age group did. Many of the hypothesized neighborhood effects disappeared once family environment was controlled for. CONCLUSIONS: These results confirm two previous studies' results that family environments may be more salient than neighborhood environments on child well-being. However, the influential role of family versus neighborhood appears to change throughout the life course. These results from an important neighborhood-stratified, population-based survey are critical to understanding the dynamics between context, life course, and child well-being.

Learning Objectives:
1. Understand hypothesized and empirically proven mechanisms linking neighborhood environments and child well-being 2. Understand the importance of parsing out family from neighborhood effects on child well-being using multilevel modeling 3. Discuss the impact of study results on current understanding of the role of neighborhood environments on child well-being

Keywords: Health Disparities, Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted this study as part of my doctoral dissertation at the UCLA School of Public Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.