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Int J Epidemiol. 1999 Feb;28(1):90-4.

Poverty area residence and changes in depression and perceived health status: evidence from the Alameda County Study.

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  • 1Behavioral Risk Factors Program, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley 94720, USA.



Previous evidence from the Alameda County Study indicated that residential area has an independent effect on risk for mortality, adjusting for a variety of important individual characteristics. The current research examined the effect of poverty area residence on risk for developing depressive symptoms and decline in perceived health status in a sample of 1737.


Data were from a longitudinal population-based cohort. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used.


Age- and sex-adjusted risk for incident high levels of depressive symptoms in 1974 was higher for poverty area residents (odds ratio [OR] 2.14; confidence interval [CI]: 1.49-3.06). Those reporting excellent/good health in 1965 were at higher risk for having fair/poor health in 1974 if they lived in a poverty area (age- and sex-adjusted OR 3.30; CI: 2.32-4.71). Independent of individual income, education, smoking status, body mass index, and alcohol consumption, poverty area residence remained associated with change in outcome variables.


These results further support the hypothesis that characteristics of place affect health conditions and health status.

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