Psychological distress, neighborhood safety, ecological systems theory, Arizona adults


While a growing body of literature has established a relationship between "disordered" neighborhoods and psychological distress, less is known about the specific mechanisms at work. Using data collected in the 2008 Arizona Health Survey (N = 4,196), hierarchal linear regression was conducted to assess both the independent effect of perception of neighborhood safety on psychological distress, as well as the mediating effects of powerlessness, social isolation and mistrust. The findings suggest that the more safe individuals feel in their neighborhood, the less psychological distress they experience (b = 1.07, SE = .17, p < .001). This relationship appears to be partially mediated by feelings of powerlessness, social isolation and mistrust, indicating potential risk and protective factors.

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