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Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Publication details

Fagg, J., Curtis, S., Clark, C., Congdon, P. & Stansfield, S. Neighbourhood perceptions among inner-city adolescents relationships with their individual characteristics and with independently assessed neighbourhood conditions. Journal of Environmental Psychology. 2008;28:128-142.

Author(s) from Durham


We investigated relationships between adolescents’ perceptions of their neighbourhood, their mental health and independently assessed indicators of conditions in their residential neighbourhood. The Research with East London Adolescents Community Health Survey (RELACHS) provided information for 2370 adolescents on area perceptions (specifically alienation from/attachment to the area and satisfaction/dissatisfaction with local amenities and services), and on individual and family attributes including mental distress (measured by the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire). These were combined for this study with independently assessed small area geographical indicators proposed by government to measure local deprivation in England. A Bayesian regression analysis using Gibbs sampling investigated associations between the predictor variables and neighbourhood perception. Alienation from neighbourhood and dissatisfaction with local amenities was greater for girls than for boys and for the older adolescents sampled. Those of ‘Asian’ or ‘Black’ ethnicity, from relatively harmonious families, or with higher levels of social support were less likely to express negative area perceptions. While previously published research found no significant direct association between mental health and small area indicators, this analysis suggests that those with relatively high levels of distress did have worse area perceptions. Also, certain independently assessed area indicators were associated with adolescents’ views of their neighbourhood.

Department of Geography