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Urban neighborhoods, chronic stress, gender and depression


  • Matheson, Flora I.
  • Moineddin, Rahim
  • Dunn, James R.
  • Creatore, Maria Isabella
  • Gozdyra, Piotr
  • Glazier, Richard H.


Using multilevel analysis we find that residents of "stressed" neighborhoods have higher levels of depression than residents of less "stressed" neighborhoods. Data for individuals are from two cycles of the Canadian Community Health Survey, a national probability sample of 56,428 adults living in 25 Census Metropolitan Areas in Canada, with linked information about the respondents' census tracts. Depression is measured with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale Short Form and is based on a cutoff of 4+ symptoms. Factor analysis of census tract characteristics identified two measures of neighborhood chronic stress--residential mobility and material deprivation--and two measures of population structure--ethnic diversity and dependency. After adjustment for individual-level gender, age, education, marital and visible minority status and neighborhood-level ethnic diversity and dependency, a significant contextual effect of neighborhood chronic stress survives. As such, the daily stress of living in a neighborhood where residential mobility and material deprivation prevail is associated with depression. Since gender frames access to personal and social resources, we explored the possibility that women might be more reactive to chronic stressors manifested in higher risk of depression. However, we did not find random variation in depression by gender across neighborhoods.

Suggested Citation

  • Matheson, Flora I. & Moineddin, Rahim & Dunn, James R. & Creatore, Maria Isabella & Gozdyra, Piotr & Glazier, Richard H., 2006. "Urban neighborhoods, chronic stress, gender and depression," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(10), pages 2604-2616, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:63:y:2006:i:10:p:2604-2616

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Boardman, Jason D, 2004. "Stress and physical health: the role of neighborhoods as mediating and moderating mechanisms," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(12), pages 2473-2483, June.
    2. Silver, Eric & Mulvey, Edward P. & Swanson, Jeffrey W., 2002. "Neighborhood structural characteristics and mental disorder: Faris and Dunham revisited," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1457-1470, October.
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    5. Propper, Carol & Jones, Kelvyn & Bolster, Anne & Burgess, Simon & Johnston, Ron & Sarker, Rebecca, 2005. "Local neighbourhood and mental health: Evidence from the UK," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(10), pages 2065-2083, November.
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    8. Hyndman, Jilda & D'Arcy, C. & Holman, J. & Jamrozik, K., 1997. "The effect of spatial definition on the allocation of clients to screening clinics," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 331-340, July.
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    10. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2000:90:5:799-803_7 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Messer, Lynne C. & Vinikoor, Lisa C. & Laraia, Barbara A. & Kaufman, Jay S. & Eyster, Janet & Holzman, Claudia & Culhane, Jennifer & Elo, Irma & Burke, Jessica G. & O'Campo, Patricia, 2008. "Socioeconomic domains and associations with preterm birth," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(8), pages 1247-1257, October.
    2. Giatti, Luana & Barreto, Sandhi M. & C├ęsar, Cibele C., 2010. "Unemployment and self-rated health: Neighborhood influence," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(4), pages 815-823, August.
    3. Bassett, Emma & Moore, Spencer, 2014. "Neighbourhood disadvantage, network capital and restless sleep: Is the association moderated by gender in urban-dwelling adults?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 185-193.
    4. Ivory, Vivienne C. & Blakely, Tony & Pearce, Jamie & Witten, Karen & Bagheri, Nasser & Badland, Hannah & Schofield, Grant, 2015. "Could strength of exposure to the residential neighbourhood modify associations between walkability and physical activity?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 232-241.
    5. Curry, Aaron & Latkin, Carl & Davey-Rothwell, Melissa, 2008. "Pathways to depression: The impact of neighborhood violent crime on inner-city residents in Baltimore, Maryland, USA," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 23-30, July.
    6. repec:eee:socmed:v:200:y:2018:i:c:p:262-270 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Wilson-Genderson, Maureen & Pruchno, Rachel, 2013. "Effects of neighborhood violence and perceptions of neighborhood safety on depressive symptoms of older adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 43-49.
    8. Karb, Rebecca A. & Elliott, Michael R. & Dowd, Jennifer B. & Morenoff, Jeffrey D., 2012. "Neighborhood-level stressors, social support, and diurnal patterns of cortisol: The Chicago Community Adult Health Study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(6), pages 1038-1047.
    9. Antonio Boing & S. Subramanian, 2015. "The influence of area-level education on body mass index, waist circumference and obesity according to gender," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 60(6), pages 727-736, September.
    10. Ivory, Vivienne C. & Collings, Sunny C. & Blakely, Tony & Dew, Kevin, 2011. "When does neighbourhood matter? Multilevel relationships between neighbourhood social fragmentation and mental health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(12), pages 1993-2002, June.
    11. Kendzor, Darla E. & Reitzel, Lorraine R. & Mazas, Carlos A. & Cofta-Woerpel, Ludmila M. & Cao, Yumei & Ji, Lingyun & Costello, Tracy J. & Vidrine, Jennifer Irvin & Businelle, Michael S. & Li, Yisheng , 2012. "Individual- and area-level unemployment influence smoking cessation among African Americans participating in a randomized clinical trial," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(9), pages 1394-1401.
    12. Matheson, Flora I. & Moineddin, Rahim & Glazier, Richard H., 2008. "The weight of place: A multilevel analysis of gender, neighborhood material deprivation, and body mass index among Canadian adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 675-690, February.
    13. repec:eee:socmed:v:190:y:2017:i:c:p:165-173 is not listed on IDEAS


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