The effect of social isolation on depressive symptoms varies by neighborhood characteristics: A study of an urban sample of women with pre-school aged children

Julie Knoll Rajaratnam, Patricia O'Campo, Margaret O.Brien Caughy, Carles Muntaner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: To examine how individual characteristics, social isolation, and neighborhood context affect depressive symptoms in a socio-economically diverse population of women with young children. Methods: Interviews were conducted with 261 mothers from 68 neighborhoods in Baltimore between 1998 and 2000. Depressive symptoms were measured using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale (CES-D). Neighborhood context was characterized using police and Census data. Multilevel regression was performed. Results: Socially isolated women reported on average 73% (95% CI, 48 and 92%) more depressive symptoms than women who were not socially isolated; however, the association of social isolation and depressive symptoms varied by level of crime in the neighborhood. Social isolation was associated with an average increase in depressive symptoms of 128% (95% CI, 115 and 138%) for women in low-crime neighborhoods but with no change for those in high-crime neighborhoods. The interaction remained significant after controlling for individual- and neighborhood-level socio-demographic characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-475
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This project was supported by grants from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCJ-240731-01-1) and the Smith-Richardson Foundation (9701-936). The authors thank Deborah Brothers and Bennette Drummond-Fitzgerald for conducting interviews and Kimberly Lohrfink for providing project management. We also thank three anonymous reviewers who provided comments on previous drafts of this article. Finally, we thank the families who so graciously welcomed us into their homes.

Keywords

  • Depression
  • Neighborhood
  • Pre-school aged children
  • Social isolation
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of social isolation on depressive symptoms varies by neighborhood characteristics: A study of an urban sample of women with pre-school aged children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this