Date of Award

3-26-2010

Degree Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Sheryl Strasser - Committee Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Erin Ruel - Committee Member

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Mental health is a component of one‘s overall health and more research needs to be conducted to understand contributing factors. An estimated 26% of people over 18 years of age suffer from a mental illness in any given year; and mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the United States for the age group of 15 to 44. Depression is a common illness and affects more women than men and nearly 1 in 10 adults each year. AIM: Some believe that public housing has negative implications for health and this furthers research interest. This study uses secondary data collected from interview surveys and examines variables of depression, living conditions, and crime among a sample of 385 public housing residents. This research investigates the correlation, if any, between crime and mental health as well as living conditions and mental health. METHODS: Data analysis was conducted in SPSS. Descriptive statistics were conducted to examine the demographic profile of the sample. The CES-D depression scale, a valid and reliable instrument, was used as to measure mental health outcomes. Living conditions and crime variables were also scored and measured. Correlation analyses were conducted to determine associations among study variables. RESULTS: The mean age of residents was 51.19 (SD = 17.27), 94% of residents were African American, and 73% were female. Approximately 65% of residents were not depressed, 55% living in normal living conditions, and 71% had a low fear of crime. There was a small, but positive significant correlation among mental health, crime, and poor living conditions. CONCLUSION: Advanced analyses of survey data would help researchers gain a better sense of how public housing residents‘ mental health outcomes are impacted by their surroundings.

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