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Pavlov J Biol Sci. 1979 Oct-Dec;14(4):226-33.

Crowding and mental health.


An epidemiologic investigation of the mental needs and services of 1645 respondents, aged 17 to 92 years and living in a representative southeastern county in Florida, revealed that 7.8% of the sample lived in crowded conditions. The crowded respondents scored significantly higher than did the uncrowded on both a depression scale and on the Health Opinion Survey. Associations between crowding and high scores on both scales were strongest among: respondents in the childrearing and middle years of life, blacks at all income levels, whites in the intermediate annual family income range of $6000 to $9999, and especially, females rather than males. Consistently, the crowded black population, and particularly, crowded white women, had much higher scores than did the uncrowded women. A multiple regression analysis showed that three variables--being a female, having a lower income, and crowding--accounted for 16.5% of the variance. The discussion emphasizes that the relationship between crowding and higher scores on indices of emotional distress is quite complicated. In crowded situations, depression may be a costly, semi-adaptive reaction to excessive interpersonal stimulation. Women living in crowded situations appear to be at high risk for depressive illness; their plight brings to mind the classic animal experiments which showed that the maternal behavior of females deteriorated in crowded situations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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