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Objective and Perceived Community Factors: Exploring Responses to Context

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Abstract:

Objectives: To study the neighborhood context, researchers typically use (objective) archival measures and (subjective) self-reported data of neighborhood conditions. The current study compared these measures and explored whether internalizing symptoms influences how individuals perceive their neighborhoods. Methods: The sample was 112 African American young adults living in 27 neighborhoods. Objective indicators of neighborhoods were assessed via census data and compared to self-reported data of neighborhood conditions. Results: Findings revealed that individuals with higher levels of anxiety and depression are more sensitive to objective indicators of neighborhood poverty. Conclusions: Results suggest that there are systematic differences in how people perceive their surroundings. Implications of study findings are discussed in terms of improving models of adjustment.

Keywords: COMMUNITY RESEARCH; INTERNALIZING SYMPTOMS; NEIGHBORHOOD POVERTY; PERCEPTUAL BIASES

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5993/AJHB.37.6.5

Affiliations: 1: The College of New Jersey, Psychology Department, Ewing, NJ, USA. chung@tcnj.edu 2: The College of New Jersey, Psychology Department, Ewing, NJ, USA

Publication date: 2013-11-01

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

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