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Health Place. 2009 Mar;15(1):56-68. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2008.02.004. Epub 2008 Feb 23.

Neighbourhoods and mental well-being: what are the pathways?

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  • 1The Centre for Research on Inner City Health, The Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital, 30 Bond Street, Toronto, Ont., Canada M5B1 W8.


The last decade has seen an acceleration in research examining the impact of neighbourhood characteristics on a health outcomes. Yet, identifying specific pathways by which neighbourhoods affect mental well-being has received less attention. The article describes findings from a qualitative study conducted in Toronto, Ont., Canada, examining the pathways by which neighbourhood characteristics are related to mental well-being. Methods of concept mapping were used to answer our research questions. Participants identified over 100 neighbourhood characteristics grouped into six cluster that were important for either good or poor mental well-being. Clusters were rated in terms of their importance to mental well-being. Finally, participants drew diagrams describing how the neighbourhood factors and domains were contributing to poor and good mental well-being. Concept mapping provides unique contributions and challenges and may provide a useful means of examining specific pathways from neighbourhood to health outcomes.

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