Lowe, Gillian A.; Lipps, Garth E.; Gibson, Roger C.; Halliday, S.; Morris, A.; Clarke, N.; Wilson, Rosemarie N.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Neighbourhood Factors and Depression among Adolescents in Four Caribbean Countries
Date of Publication
Presented at 10th Annual Psychology Conference, The University of the West Indies, Mona, 2013
Background: Past research suggests that perceived neighbourhood conditions may influence adolescents' emotional health. Relatively little research has been conducted examining the association of perceived neighbourhood conditions with depressive symptoms among Caribbean adolescents. This project examines the association of perceived neighbourhood conditions with levels of depressive symptoms among adolescents in Jamaica, the Bahamas, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent. Methods: Adolescents attending grade ten of the academic year 2006/2007 in Jamaica, the Bahamas, St. Vincent, and St. Kitts and Nevis were administered the Neighbourhood Characteristics Questionnaire along with the BDI-II. Social cohesion, attachment to the neighbourhood, neighbourhood quality, neighbourhood crime, and neighbourhood disorder scales were created by summing the relevant subscales of the Neighbourhood Characteristics Questionnaire. Multiple regression analyses were used to examine the relationships of perceived neighbourhood conditions to depressive symptoms. Results: A wide cross-section of tenth grade students in each nation was sampled (n = 1955; 278 from Jamaica, 217 from the Bahamas, 737 St. Kitts and Nevis, 716 from St. Vincent; 52.1% females, 45.6% males and 2.3% no gender reported; 12 to 19 years, mean = 15.3 yrs, sd = .95 yr). Nearly half (52.1%) of all adolescents reported mild to severe symptoms of depression with 29.1% reporting moderate to severe symptoms of depression. Overall, Jamaican adolescents perceived their neighbourhoods in a more positive manner than those in the Bahamas, St. Vincent and St. Kitts and Nevis. Results of a series of hierarchical multiple regression analyses suggested that a different pattern of neighbourhood factors for each island were associated with depressive symptoms. However, neighbourhood factors were more highly associated with depressive symptoms for Jamaican students than for students in the other three islands. Conclusions: Neighbourhood factors appear to be partially associated with adolescents' self-reports of depressive symptoms. However, other factors may mitigate this relationship.....