Annals of Behavioral Medicine

Tse-Chuan Yang*, Danhong Chen, Kiwoong Park


Background: While the association between perceived discrimination and health has been investigated, little is known about whether and how neighborhood characteristics moderate this association.

Purpose: We situate discrimination in the housing context and use relative deprivation and social capital perspectives to fill the knowledge gap.

Methods: We applied multilevel logistic modeling to 9,842 adults in 830 neighborhoods in Philadelphia to examine three hypotheses.

Results: First, the detrimental effect of discrimination on self-reported health was underestimated without considering neighborhood features as moderators. The estimated coefficient (β) increased from approximately 0.02 to 1.84 or higher. Second, the negative association between discrimination and self-reported health was enhanced when individuals with discrimination experience lived in neighborhoods with higher housing values (β=0.42). Third, the adverse association of discrimination with self-reported health was attenuated when people reporting discrimination resided in neighborhoods marked by higher income inequality (β=−4.34) and higher concentrations of single-parent households with children (β=−0.03) and minorities (β=−0.01).

Conclusions: We not only confirmed the moderating roles of neighborhood characteristics, but also suggested that the relative deprivation and social capital perspectives could be used to understand how perceived housing discrimination affects self-reported health via neighborhood factors.

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* Denotes CSDA Associates and Staff