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Association of Neighborhood Social Context and Perceived Stress Among Mothers of Young Children

  • Stephanie L. Mayne
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Stephanie L. Mayne, PhD, MHS, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Roberts Center for Pediatric Research, 2716 South St, Rm 10471, Philadelphia, PA 19146.
    Affiliations
    The Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness, The Possibilities Project, and PolicyLab, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (SL Mayne, G DiFiore, C Hannan, S Virudachalam, and AG Fiks), Philadelphia, Pa

    The Department of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania (SL Mayne, S Virudachalam, and AG Fiks), Philadelphia, Pa

    Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania (SL Mayne, S Virudachalam, K Glanz, and AG Fiks), Philadelphia, Pa
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  • Gabrielle DiFiore
    Affiliations
    The Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness, The Possibilities Project, and PolicyLab, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (SL Mayne, G DiFiore, C Hannan, S Virudachalam, and AG Fiks), Philadelphia, Pa
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  • Chloe Hannan
    Affiliations
    The Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness, The Possibilities Project, and PolicyLab, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (SL Mayne, G DiFiore, C Hannan, S Virudachalam, and AG Fiks), Philadelphia, Pa
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  • Senbagam Virudachalam
    Affiliations
    The Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness, The Possibilities Project, and PolicyLab, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (SL Mayne, G DiFiore, C Hannan, S Virudachalam, and AG Fiks), Philadelphia, Pa

    The Department of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania (SL Mayne, S Virudachalam, and AG Fiks), Philadelphia, Pa

    Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania (SL Mayne, S Virudachalam, K Glanz, and AG Fiks), Philadelphia, Pa
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  • Karen Glanz
    Affiliations
    Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania (SL Mayne, S Virudachalam, K Glanz, and AG Fiks), Philadelphia, Pa

    Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Informatics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania (K Glanz), Philadelphia, Pa

    Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences, School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania (K Glanz), Philadelphia, Pa
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  • Alexander G. Fiks
    Affiliations
    The Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness, The Possibilities Project, and PolicyLab, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (SL Mayne, G DiFiore, C Hannan, S Virudachalam, and AG Fiks), Philadelphia, Pa

    The Department of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania (SL Mayne, S Virudachalam, and AG Fiks), Philadelphia, Pa

    Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania (SL Mayne, S Virudachalam, K Glanz, and AG Fiks), Philadelphia, Pa
    Search for articles by this author
Published:March 25, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acap.2022.03.013

      Abstract

      Background

      Chronic parental stress may negatively impact health among both parents and children. Adverse neighborhood social conditions like crime may increase stress while a supportive neighborhood may buffer stress and promote well-being. Our objective was to examine associations between neighborhood social factors and stress among mothers of young children.

      Methods

      We surveyed 300 mothers/female caregivers of Medicaid-enrolled 2 to 4-year-old children in Philadelphia. Maternal stress was measured via the 10-item Perceived Stress Scale (range 0–40). Mothers’ perceived neighborhood safety and collective efficacy were assessed using validated scales. Addresses were geocoded to link census tract-level violent crime rates. We used multivariable linear regression to examine associations of neighborhood safety, collective efficacy, and crime with maternal stress, adjusted for demographics, household socioeconomic status, and neighborhood poverty.

      Results

      Among mothers (mean age 31, 60% Black/African American), higher perceived neighborhood safety and collective efficacy were associated with lower stress scores after adjustment for covariates. Each 1-point increase (on a 5-point scale) in perceived neighborhood safety was associated with a 2.30-point decrease in maternal stress (95% CI: −3.07, −1.53). Similarly, each 1-point increase in perceived collective efficacy was associated with a 3.08-point decrease in maternal stress (95% CI: −4.13, −2.02). Police-recorded violent crime rates were not associated with maternal stress.

      Conclusion

      Mothers of young children who perceive their neighborhood social environment more favorably report less stress compared to those who feel their neighborhood environment is less safe and cohesive. Future work is warranted to investigate whether interventions that increase perceived neighborhood safety and collective efficacy reduce stress.

      Keywords

      Abbreviations:

      CHOP (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia), PeRC (Pediatric Research Consortium), REC (Recruitment Enhancement Core), PSS-10 (Perceived Stress Scale 10 item version), SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children)
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