Gender differences in the effects of urban neighborhood on depressive symptoms in Jamaica

Jasneth Asher Mullings, Affette Michelle McCaw-Binns,Carol Archer, and Rainford Wilks
Rev Panam Salud Publica. 385–92
Published online: 2013

Abstract / Resumen:

Objective. To explore the mental health effects of the urban neighborhood on men and women in Jamaica and the implications for urban planning and social development. Methods. A cross-sectional household sample of 2 848 individuals 15–74 years of age obtained from the Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey 2007–2008 was analyzed. Secondary analysis was undertaken by developing composite scores to describe observer recorded neighborhood features, including infrastructure, amenities/services, physical conditions, community socioeconomic status, and green spaces around the home. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). Bivariate and multivariate methods were used to explore the associations among gender, neighborhood factors, and risk of depressive symptoms. Results. While no associations were found among rural residents, urban neighborhoods were associated with increased risk of depressive symptoms. Among males, residing in a neighborhood with poor infrastructure increased risk; among females, residing in an informal community/unplanned neighborhood increased risk. Conclusions. The urban neighborhood contributes to the risk of depression symptomatology in Jamaica, with different environmental stressors affecting men and women. Urban and social planners need to consider the physical environment when developing health interventions in urban settings, particularly in marginalized communities.

Keywords / Palabras clave: Urban health; urban renewal; depression; gender and health; public policy; equity in health; Jamaica.

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