Neighborhood environment and internalizing problems in African American children

Adam J. Milam, C. Debra Furr-Holden, Damiya Whitaker, Mieka Smart, Philip Leaf, Michele Cooley-Strickland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This study examines gender differences in the association between environment and internalizing problems in a sample of predominately African American schoolchildren. Internalizing problems was assessed using the Youth Self Report. Violence and alcohol and other drug (AOD) exposure subscales were created using observational assessments of neighborhood blocks. Logistic regression models were used to assess the relationship between neighborhood environment and internalizing problems. For each AOD item present on the block the odds of internalizing problems among girls increased by 17% (OR = 1.17, CI: 1.01, 1.35, P = 0.039). The relationship was not significant among boys. Violence exposure did not predict internalizing problems in boys or girls. These preliminary findings suggest that primary schoolaged girls' emotional well-being is more negatively impacted by deleterious environments. Future investigations will examine the relationship between deleterious neighborhood environments and internalizing problems as the children age into adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-44
Number of pages6
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • African American
  • Gender
  • Mental health
  • Urban health
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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