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Depress Anxiety. 2014 Jan;31(1):27-37. doi: 10.1002/da.22197. Epub 2013 Oct 7.

Neighborhood characteristics and differential risk for depressive and anxiety disorders across racial/ethnic groups in the United States.

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  • 1Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research, Cambridge Health Alliance, Somerville, Massachusetts.



The prevalence of psychiatric disorders varies depending on the person's neighborhood context, their racial/ethnic group, and the specific diagnoses being examined. Less is known about specific neighborhood features that represent differential risk for depressive and anxiety disorders (DAD) across racial/ethnic groups in the United States. This study examines whether neighborhood etiologic factors are associated with DAD, above and beyond individual-level characteristics, and whether these associations are moderated by race/ethnicity.


We utilized nationally representative data (N = 13,837) from the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Studies (CPES-Geocode file). Separate weighted multilevel logistic regression models were fitted for any past-year depressive and/or anxiety disorder, any depressive disorder only, and any anxiety disorder only.


After adjusting for individual-level characteristics, African Americans living in a neighborhood with greater affluence and Afro-Caribbeans residing in more residentially unstable neighborhoods were at increased risk for any past-year depressive disorder as compared to their non-Latino white counterparts. Further, Latinos residing in neighborhoods with greater levels of Latino/immigrant concentration were at increased risk of any past-year anxiety disorder. Lastly, Asians living in neighborhoods with higher levels of economic disadvantage were at decreased risk of any past-year depressive and/or anxiety disorders compared to non-Latino whites, independent of individual-level factors. Differences across subethnic groups are also evident.


Results suggest neighborhood characteristics operate differently on risk for DAD across racial/ethnic groups. Our findings have important implications for designing and targeting interventions to address DAD risk among racial/ethnic minorities.

© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


anxiety; depression; nativity, subethnicity; neighborhood; racial/ethnic minorities

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