Online Program

Examining the Effects of Neighborhood Characteristics on the Mental Health of Urban Black Male Youth: A Systematic Review

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Danielle Perry, MSW, School of Social Work, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL
Karen Tabb, PhD, MSW, School of Social Work, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL
Ruby Mendenhall, PhD, MPP, Department of Sociology, Department of African American Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL
Background: For Black male youth living in low socioeconomic status neighborhoods, exposure to urban life experiences, (i.e. extreme poverty, absentee parenting, lack of social support/ peer support, and failing school systems), has a significant impact on their ability to maintain normal psychosocial development. The purpose of this systematic review is to determine what mental health symptoms may be triggered by continuous exposure to low SES at-risk neighborhoods.

Methods: PubMed, PsycInfo, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Social Work Abstracts were searched for published peer-reviewed articles using a combination of 15 different search terms, including Black male youth, mental health symptoms, and neighborhoods. Studies were included that discussed neighborhood, mood, and sampled adolescent Black males as well as provided gender/sex and ethnic differences in mood within their sample. PRISMA guidelines were used to conduct this systematic review.

Findings: 2,346 initial articles were identified, 29 full articles were reviewed, and 14 articles were systemically reviewed. Preliminary findings from these 14 articles suggest that when Black male youth are continuously exposed to the negative characteristics within their neighborhoods, they have higher rates of mental health symptoms, such as aggression, depression, anxiety, and stress.

Implications: More research is needed to determine what neighborhood effects are most salient in increasing the likelihood of mental health symptoms in low SES Black male youth. More specifically, the development a consistent neighborhood measure would aid in determining how to accurately identify neighborhood effects.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the characteristics within low socioeconomic status neighborhoods that trigger mental health symptoms in Black male youth. Identify future strategies for conducting neighborhood research on Black male youth.

Keyword(s): African American, Child/Adolescent Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a background in both clinical practice and research experience in regards to my work with Black male youth living in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods. Much of my previous research has focused on examining the role of neighborhoods and families on the outcomes of youth in these communities. I have both led and developed individual research projects in urban neighborhoods under the direction/supervision of established researchers in the field.
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.