A comparative analysis of the impacts of objective versus subjective neighborhood environment on physical, mental, and social health

Lin Zhang, Suhong Zhou, Mei Po Kwan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Research on the relationship between neighborhood context and health outcome has attracted notable attention. However, few studies examine and compare the associations between the objective and subjective neighborhood environment and different dimensions of health. To this end, high-resolution remote sensing images and points-of-interest (POIs) data collected in Guangzhou, China, are used together with questionnaire survey data to measure the objective and subjective characteristics of the neighborhood environment. The sample includes 1029 adults selected from 34 communities in Guangzhou, China. Hierarchical linear modeling is then employed to analyze the associations between the objective and subjective neighborhood environment and three dimensions of health (physical health, mental health, and social health), as well as compare the relative strengths of and moderating mechanisms between these associations. The results indicate that significant variations in health outcomes are observed among neighborhoods, which can be explained by both personal attributes and the neighborhood environment. Although objective and subjective measures of the neighborhood environment are both linked to the three dimensions of health, physical health and social health are influenced more by objective measures, while mental health is affected more by subjective measures. Further, subjective measures have positive moderating effects on the relationship between objective measures and mental health but do not have significant moderating effects on the relationships between objective measures and physical and social health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102170
JournalHealth and Place
Volume59
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Hierarchical linear modeling
  • Neighborhood
  • Objective measures
  • Subjective measures
  • Three dimensions of health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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