"Neighborhood Context and General Health among Non-Hispanic Whites, Non-Hispanic Blacks and
Hispanics of Mexican Origin: Results of the Texas City Stress and Health Study"
Quynh Do, MPH
Graduate Student, Population Health Sciences Program
Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Sealy Center on Aging
Thursday, March 31
1.104 Ewing Hall
Abstract: Neighborhoods have emerged as an important context for physical and psychological health. However, the impact of neighborhood perceptions on multidimensional health has been relatively unexplored. Negative perceptions concerning neighborhood environment can be a serious stressor of health and can be exacerbated when living near environmental hazards such as a petrochemical complex. Furthermore, little is known about how the relationship between neighborhood perceptions and health varies by race/ethnicity. Using data from the Texas City Stress and Health Study, this study examines the association between neighborhood perceptions and overall health among non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, and Hispanics of Mexican origin (n=2,500). Perceptions of neighborhood characteristics were measured across four dimensions of neighborhood context: perceived crime, social embeddedness, sense of community and neighborhood satisfaction. Overall health was measured by the SF-36, a multi-purpose, short-form health survey that is summed to calculate a score ranging from 0 to 100. The mean SF-36 was 63.6 ± 23.9 and the mean perceived neighborhood score was 21.4 ± 7.8. Results from hierarchical linear modeling showed that neighborhood perception is significantly and positively related to overall health. The results suggest overall health increased with more positive perception of neighborhood, especially in Hispanics of Mexican origin. Individual-level factors were statistically significant in predicting overall health including being female, age, Mexican origin, education, health insurance, low or middle income, former/current smoker, and underweight or obese. Thus, suggesting that the composition of the neighborhood (i.e., population) is more important than the neighborhood context itself in predicting physical and psychological health.