Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Monica Swahn

Second Advisor

Dr. Matt Hayat


INTRODUCTION: Neighborhood factors affect mental health of children. There are not many studies done on neighborhood conditions and common childhood mental disorders using national level data in the US. This study aims to study the association between neighborhood characteristics and mental disorder among children in the US by analyzing nationally representative data.

METHODS: Data on children aged 6-17 years from 2011/12 national survey of children’s health was analyzed. Primary dependent variable was current diagnosed mental disorder that was based on the diagnosis of at least one of the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), behavioral or conduct problem, depression and anxiety problem among children. Five neighborhood conditions (neighborhood amenities, neighborhood distracting element, supportive neighborhood, neighborhood safety, and school safety) were the independent variables. Analysis was conducted using bivariate and multivariable logistic regression at 95% CI.

RESULTS: All the neighborhood conditions were significantly associated with current diagnosed mental disorder among children. In the multivariable model, children living in neighborhood perceived to be not supportive by parents/guardians had greater odds of mental disorder (OR 1.37, 95% CI:1.10-1.71) compared to children living in supportive neighborhood. Other noticeable factors associated with mental disorder among children were father’s and mother’s mental health, and number of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

CONCLUSION: Neighborhood level interventions should be a part of broad interventions designed to improve mental health of children. Besides, assessment of conditions of a child’s neighborhood, parents’ perception of neighborhood social support, father’s and mother’s mental health, and adverse childhood experiences can be helpful in evaluating childhood mental disorders as well as in planning neighborhood level interventions.