247577 Association between neighborhood environment and neighborhood satisfaction: Demographic moderators

Monday, October 31, 2011

Suzanna Lee, MPH , Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
James F. Sallis, PhD , Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Terry L. Conway, PhD , Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Brian E. Saelens, PhD , Seattle Children's, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Lawrence Frank, PhD, CIP, ASLA , Bombardier Chair in Sustainable Transportation, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Kelli Cain, MA , Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Caroline Macera, PhD , Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Background: Built environment attributes are associated with physical activity and obesity, but their association with other outcomes is less clear. Neighborhood satisfaction has been found to be correlated with mental health and quality of life. Therefore, it is worthwhile to better understand the relationship between the environment and satisfaction.

Methods: Adult participants (n=1745) were randomly recruited from neighborhoods in Seattle and Baltimore selected to vary on walkability and income. Perceived neighborhood environment was assessed using the validated Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale (NEWS), and neighborhood satisfaction was assessed as a mean of 17 survey items, which formed a reliable scale score (α=0.86). NEWS subscales were grouped into tertiles, and mixed effects linear regression was used for analysis.

Results: Participants reported greater neighborhood satisfaction when they perceived greater pedestrian/traffic safety (F=56.46, p<.001), attractive aesthetics (F=35.89, p<.001), safety from crime (F=30.48, p<.001), access to destinations, (F=9.79, p<.001), diversity of destinations (F=9.19, p<.001), nearby park access (F=8.44, p<.01), and less residential density (F=6.28, p<.01). There was a street connectivity by gender interaction where there was a positive association between connectivity and satisfaction for women but a negative association for men.

Conclusions: Most of the neighborhood characteristics positively related to physical activity also appear to benefit neighborhood satisfaction. A key challenge is to learn how to overcome the negative association of residential density to neighborhood satisfaction.

Learning Areas:
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
To assess associations between neighborhood characteristics and neighborhood satisfaction and evaluate potential moderators.

Keywords: Community Planning, Environment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I work on a literature database documenting how the built environment affects physical activity.
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.