Online Program

Perceptions of the neighborhood environment as mediators and depression as a moderator of the association between observed neighborhood environment and walking among urban-dwelling adults

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 8:50 a.m. - 9:10 a.m.

Stephanie L. Orstad, PhD Candidate, Department of Health and Kinesiology, College of Health and Human Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Meghan H. McDonough, Ph.D., Department of Health and Kinesiology, College of Health and Human Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
David B. Klenosky, PhD, Department of Health and Kinesiology, College of Health and Human Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Marifran Mattson, PhD, Brian Lamb School of Communication, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Philip J. Troped, PhD MS, Department of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA
Introduction: Neighborhoods have been linked to modifiable health behaviors including physical activity. For example, access to recreational facilities predicts walking. However, pathways via which individual perceptions and observed measures of the neighborhood environment influence walking are poorly understood. Furthermore, these influences may differ for those with and without symptoms of depression. We examined whether perceived neighborhood environment mediated associations between observed neighborhood environment and walking, and whether the mediated effects were moderated by depression.

Methods: Data were previously collected for the Chicago Community Adult Health Study, a survey of residents of 343 urban neighborhoods. Respondents’ (n=3083) mean age was 42.4±16.4 years, 39.9% were male, and 31.9% were white. Interviewers asked participants about their health, behavior, and neighborhood environment (park access, traffic, danger, and disorder). Auditors conducted a systematic observation of the social and physical characteristics of nearby blocks (recreational facilities, commercial destinations, traffic, security, disorder, and deterioration). We used multiple regression with bootstrap-generated 95% bias-corrected confidence intervals of the indirect effects to test for mediation and moderated mediation.

Results: Perceived park access, traffic, and danger mediated the effects of observed neighborhood environment on walking (b=-0.43-0.77). The indirect effects of observed security, disorder, and deterioration on walking via perceived disorder were significant only among residents with higher than average depression (b=-0.13-0.43).

Discussion: Respondents with more depressive symptoms living in neighborhoods with greater indicators of disadvantage (i.e., less security, more disorder and deterioration) perceived greater disorder and engaged in more walking. Residents’ perceptions may help explain the influence of neighborhoods on walking.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain one way depressive symptoms may influence associations between neighborhood environment and walking

Keyword(s): Physical Activity, Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My educational background in psychology, physical activity and public health, and advanced statistics provides a solid conceptual and methodological base for me to address important limitations in this area of research. I have conducted a systematic review of studies examining both objective and perceived measures of the neighborhood environment in relation to physical activity. My faculty mentors, who have extensive experience in testing mediation and moderation, have helped me cultivate an expertise in these methods.
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.