Your Neighbors and Your Health

Neighborhood in Gilbert, ArizonaFor years, it has been known that where you live matters to your health. Health-related problems are strongly associated with the social characteristics of communities. Factors such as poverty, employment, family structure and the race/ethnicity of a community help predict how healthy its residents are – even when individual attributes and behaviors are taken into account.

Much of the research to date has focused on how socioeconomic characteristics explain health disadvantages. But as we all know, many socially disadvantaged people buck such risk factors to achieve optimal health.

Our question: Can strong communities, where people feel connected to their neighbors, have a positive effect on your health? Can communities with strong social connections explain why some socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods fail, while others thrive? If so, what factors influence how connected people feel to their neighbors and their communities?

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