Stress Impacts on Health in Urban Environments

Maximilian Stiefel, University of California, Santa Barbara

Human health is not just the consequence of behavior and genetics. Factors related to place of residence, especially in early childhood, also impact health status trajectory. These have come to be understood as neighborhood effects. They consist of everyday characteristics contextualizing the places in which we live and extend beyond individual disposition. Stress-inducing environments have been shown to increase individual propensity to adverse health outcomes. This paper explores how neighborhoods create stress and the mental health implications of that stress over the life course using the UK Biobank. For this analysis I map physical neighborhood characteristics to assess whether neighborhood matters in time to and likelihood of a suite of psychopathological diagnoses. I then build event histories for individuals with psychopathology, including births, deaths, marriages, and divorces, to estimate life history effects from psychopathological diagnosis. Lastly I examine whether biological indicators of stress, conceptualized here as allostatic load, moderate outcomes in the previous analyses.

Presented in Session 106: Mental Health