Negative Life Events Vary by Neighborhood and Mediate the Relation between Neighborhood Context and Psychological Well-Being

Source: Katherine King, Christin Ogle, PLOS One, April 8, 2014

From the abstract:
Researchers have speculated that negative life events are more common in troubled neighborhoods, amplifying adverse effects on health. Using a clustered representative sample of Chicago residents from the Chicago Community Adult Health Survey, we provide the first documentation that negative life events are highly geographically clustered compared to health outcomes. Associations between neighborhood context and negative life events were also found to vary by event type. We then demonstrate the power of a contextualized approach by testing path models in which life events mediate the relation between neighborhood characteristics and health outcomes, including self-rated health, anxiety, and depression. The indirect paths between neighborhood conditions and health through negative life event exposure are highly significant and large compared to the direct paths from neighborhood conditions to health. Our results indicate that neighborhood conditions can have acute as well as chronic effects on health, and that negative life events are a powerful mechanism by which context may influence health.
In Chicago’s poor neighborhoods, residents suffer and get sick

For people living in some of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods, misfortune can come in many forms—from a mugging to a job loss to the death of a loved one—and the stress involved often leads to anxiety, depression, and other illnesses, new research shows…. The study finds that residents of poorer neighborhoods who reported one or more of these life-changing events were more likely to also have serious health issues. The reasons are complex, King says. Many of the traumatic events involve exposure to risk, like burglary, legal trouble, or an ill or dying child…. Other events involve a lack of resources, like a lost job or long-term illness. And when an entire neighborhood is poor, the risks are more concentrated and resources are harder to access, which is why people struggle to find a new job or get treatment for an illness, King adds….
Source: Eric Ferreri, April 10, 2014