Neighborhood Hispanic composition and depressive symptoms among Mexican-descent residents of Texas City, Texas

Alyssa Marie Shell, Mary Peek, Karl Eschbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Substantial research shows that increased Hispanic neighborhood concentration is associated with several beneficial health outcomes including lower adult mortality, better self-rated health, and fewer respiratory problems. Literature on the relationship of Hispanic composition and depressive symptoms is more equivocal. In addition, few studies have directly investigated hypothesized mechanisms of this relationship. This study uses data from a probability sample of 1238 Mexican-descent adults living in 48 neighborhoods in Texas City, Texas. Multilevel regression models investigate whether Hispanic neighborhood composition is associated with fewer depressive symptoms. This study also investigates whether social support, perceived discrimination, and perceived stress mediate or moderate the relationship, and whether results differ by primary language used at home. We find that individuals living in high Hispanic composition neighborhoods experience fewer depressive symptoms than individuals in low Hispanic composition neighborhoods. In addition, we find that these beneficial effects only apply to respondents who speak English. Social support, perceived discrimination, and perceived stress mediate the Hispanic composition-depressive symptoms relationship. In addition, discrimination and stress moderate the relationship between Hispanic composition and depressive symptoms. Our findings support theories linking higher neighborhood Hispanic composition and better mental health, and suggest that Spanish language use, social support, discrimination and stress may play important roles in the Hispanic composition-depressive symptoms relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-63
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume99
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2013

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Keywords

  • Depressive symptoms
  • Discrimination
  • Hispanic
  • Neighborhood ethnic composition
  • Social support
  • Spanish language
  • Stress
  • USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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