Previous research indicates that residents׳ perceptions of their neighbourhoods can have an adverse influence on their health and wellbeing over and above the influence of structural disadvantage. Contrary to most prior research, this study employed an indicator of positive wellbeing and assessed the impact of individual characteristics, perceived social and environmental incivilities, indicators of cognitive and structural social capital, and perceived safety. Analyses of data from a large regional UK representative study (n=8237; 69.64% response rate) found the most influential determinants of wellbeing were physical health problems, age, SES and cognitive social capital. Smaller, significant effects were also found for environmental and social incivilities, and for perceived safety. The effect of cognitive social capital was moderated by age, with a stronger effect found among those aged 65 years and over than among younger participants. Findings indicate that the promotion of positive mental health within communities may be facilitated by efforts to foster a greater sense of belonging among residents, and that older adults may benefit most from such efforts.
Jones, R., Heim, D., Hunter, S., & Ellaway, A. (2014). The relative influence of neighbourhood incivilities, cognitive social capital, club membership and individual characteristics on positive mental health. Health & Place, 28, 187-193. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2014.04.006