Neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation, perceived neighborhood factors, and cortisol responses to induced stress among healthy adults.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Health & place, Volume 27C, p.120-126 (2014)


2014, March 2014, Public Health Sciences Division


Associations between measures of neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation and health have been identified, yet work is needed to uncover explanatory mechanisms. One hypothesized pathway is through stress, yet the few studies that have evaluated associations between characteristics of deprived neighborhoods and biomarkers of stress are mixed. This study evaluated whether objectively measured neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation and individual perceived neighborhood characteristics (i.e. social control and fear of crime) impacted cortisol responses to an induced stressor among older healthy adults. Data from Heart Scan, a sub-study of the Whitehall II cohort, were used to generate multilevel piecewise growth-curve models of cortisol trajectories after a laboratory stressor accounting for neighborhood and demographic characteristics. Neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation was significantly associated with individual perceptions of social control and fear of crime in the neighborhood while an association with blunted cortisol reactivity was only evidence among women. Social control was significantly associated with greater cortisol reactivity and mediation between neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation and cortisol reactivity was suggested among women. These findings support a gender-dependent role of neighborhood in stress process models of health.