Alternative MethodsConventional Methods


March 29

How urban living affects children's mental health

Grace Armstrong
Core Spirit member since Dec 24, 2020
Reading time 3 min.

Lower social cohesion among neighbors and higher crime rates contribute to higher rates of psychotic symptoms among urban children, a new study from researchers at Duke University and King’s College London finds.

Previous research has also identified higher rates of psychotic symptoms among children in cities. The new study, available online this week in Schizophrenia Bulletin, is the first to examine why.

Psychotic symptoms include paranoid thoughts, hearing or seeing things that others do not, and believing others can read one’s mind. Psychotic experiences in childhood are associated with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders in adulthood.

“We wanted to understand how the communities children live in are affecting them,” said Candice Odgers, an associate professor of psychology and public policy at Duke and senior associate director at the university’s Center for Child and Family Policy. “This study helps us identify specific features of neighborhoods that may be especially toxic for children’s mental health.”

While a small minority of children overall experience persistent psychotic symptoms and eventual clinical diagnosis, those numbers are higher in cities. In fact, many studies have found a two-fold increase for psychosis in adults and children raised in urban areas, which is concerning given that more than two-thirds of the world’s population is expected to live in cities by 2050, according to United Nations reports.

Researchers wanted to determine if certain conditions in urban areas cultivated psychotic symptoms in children. To that end, the study followed 2,232 British twins from birth to age 12. Children’s psychotic symptoms at age 12 were assessed through in-home interviews.

Neighborhood features were captured by surveying local residents and constructing high-resolution geospatial profiles from administrative records and Google Street View images. The long-term study controls for family history of mental illness and for the mother’s history of psychotic symptoms.

“We brought together our best measures of children’s mental health with innovations in geospatial assessments to test why children growing up in urban environments are at heightened risk for psychotic experiences,” Odgers said.

The researchers found that 12-year-olds in urban neighborhoods were almost twice as likely to experience a psychotic symptom than those in non-urban areas. This held true when controlling for residential mobility, social economic status and family psychiatric history. Around 7.4 percent of children living in urban areas had experienced at least one psychotic symptom by age 12, compared to 4.4 percent living in non-urban areas.

“Just because a child experiences a psychotic symptom does not mean he or she will develop full-blown mental health disorders,” said Helen Fisher, senior lecturer and MQ Fellow at King’s College London. “Many children grow out of them, but these unusual early experiences can lead to a range of problems later.”

Researchers looked at four experiences at the neighborhood level to help determine the cause: supportiveness and cohesiveness between neighbors; the likelihood that neighbors would intervene if problems occurred in the neighborhood; disorder in the neighborhood, such as graffiti, vandalism, noisy neighbors and loud arguments; and crime victimization.

Psychotic symptoms were more common in children who lived in areas with low social cohesion, low social control and high neighborhood disorder and whose family had been the victim of a crime.

But low social cohesion and crime victimization seemed to have the largest impact. That combination of factors explained a quarter of the association between urban living and psychotic symptoms in children.

The study could be used in developing social and clinical interventions for early psychotic symptoms to reduce costly mental health problems later down the line, the researchers said.

“One of the encouraging findings is that social cohesion is changeable at the community level and not entirely dependent on economic resources,” Odgers said. “Many of the most cohesive neighborhoods in our study were also the most economically deprived.”

Since childhood psychotic symptoms are relatively rare, with less than 6 percent of children in the study reporting them, the researchers recommend the study be replicated. Further research is also needed to better understand psychotic symptoms in later adolescence.

The exact nature of the effect of urban neighborhoods on childhood psychotic symptoms is now important to uncover, said Joanne Newbury, a Ph.D. student at King’s College London and lead author of the study.

“Do crime and threat increase children’s vigilance and paranoia?” Newbury asked. “Does prolonged exposure to neighborhood stressors undermine some children’s ability to cope with stressful experiences? Further research is needed to identify the social and biological mechanisms underlying our findings.”

by Science Codex

Comments

Leave your questions here

To write a comment you must
or
Services
Category filter
Concern filter
Type filter
Sort
 

All categories

Nutritional Therapy
$10 USD
Discovery Call

Whether you’re looking for feeling in control of your life and food habits, making peace with your body and falling in love with it, dropping stress burden, de…

Nora
Life Coaching
$10 USD
Searching for Life Purpose

Feel lost? Feel as if there is more out there for you? Feel that you are just living day to day without a passion? Spend an hour and speak to me and lets se…

Kelly Valentine
Spiritual Healing
$220 USD
I will do spiritual transformation for you

Life occurs as a series of cycles in a single human lifetime. Cycles exist in almost a spiral pattern. There is a flow and everything is connected so you can b…

Wisdom Realms
Spiritual Healing
$10 USD
Praying for the Sick and Depressed

Are you sick? Are you really depressed? Do you feel that your life is worthless?
Come book a session with me and see the changes that will occur after that.
Th…

Luck Richards Omorede
5
Spiritual Healing
$55 USD
1 Hour Intuitive Nutrition Coaching Call

Dive in and discover your biggest areas of struggle and how to tap into the intuition for guidance.
We will talk about your history and your goals for your wel…

Jess Olson
NLP
$100 USD
Weightloss Course

If your goal is to lose weight once and for all, I will support you closely,
to understand the resources they need to become the person you want.

You probably…

rossella tocco
Chinese Astrology
$10 USD
You are not ALONE

Do you think it’s your fault you haven’t found your partner yet? Or that you are the problem because the relationship is not working? Do you feel isolated, set…

Carmen Oana Oglan
Chakra Balancing
$10 USD
Soul To Soul Reading Session

Energetic Reading

Complete Chakra System Reading to identify energy blocks.
Techniques are provided to restore balance.

What Is An Energetic Reading?

Debo…

Deborah Lucero
Spiritual Healing
$222 USD
Healing from Trauma at a Quantum Soul Level

Are you burnt out from clinical therapy practices that require years of treatment with few results? Are you ready to release and transmute your trauma once and…

LunaRio Silver Deer
Career Coaching
$499 USD
Reset 1-0n1 Coaching and Mentoring Programme

Are you returning to work after a career break, or are you looking for a new job or career change?

This programme is for you.

I’ve developed the RESET coachi…

Carla Martins
Life Coaching
$399 USD
1-on-1 Coaching

The journey started with our discovery call, and You decided: ” I’m ready! Let’s do this!”.

We will engage in 1-on-1 coaching sessions for 90 minutes. In this…

Carla Martins
Emotional Stress Release
$800 USD
Retreat( India): Connect With Your Inner Wisdom 1st to 4th Sept

Join us for an immersive experience anchored amidst the beauty and tranquillity of Kasar Devi, Almora, India

1st Sept’22 ( Thursday) - 4th Sept 2022 ( Sunday …

Aikyam
Psychic Reading
$80 USD
I will do oracle and tarot card readings

I will do oracle & tarot card reading in any area of your life. You will get answer from the Angelic, Elemental, Faerie or Galactic realms. I will share wi…

Wisdom Realms
Natal Astrology
$15 USD
15 min reading of SOUL structure

[SOUL STRUCTURE]Each soul has own structure,and knowing it means to have unlimited access to inner energy. This readings are telling about your talents and str…

Ksenia Jdanova
Wellness Coaching
$10 USD
Ask a Question?

Supportive reflection of a current question that you would like clarity around. Using the SMART method to seek quidance in stepping onto your path of potential…

Beverly Lynn
Reiki
$150 USD
Reiki Services (distant healing session)

In this hour long distant healing session I will use long distance Reiki, crystals and essential oils to balance your Chakras. Balancing your Chakras allows en…

Erin Kirby
Tarot Reading
$10 USD
Intuitive Tarot Reading

Affordable Tarot reading to offer guidance on any given concern.

Elphie Shoppe
Telepsychology
$10 USD
Talk Therapy Sessions

Hello there: These times are dread. Do you need to talk with a safe professional about a troubling personal challenge? I am a professional listener and will li…

Eulalee Thompson
Tarot Reading
$10 USD
Tarot Reading

I offer tarot readings with a 100% accuracy rate. The tarot is meant to give you advice, to point you in the right direction or to provide you with clarity. Bu…

Zara Kalil
Angel Healing
$10 USD
Mental Health Advice & Tips

I can help you with past issues and give advice and tips on how to better your life. I can see through my third eye and receive messageson what you need to do …

Beings Of Light
Life Coaching
$10 USD
Discovery call

Are you interested in supporting your health with safe and effective holistic medicine? Not sure if you should switch diets, work with a health coach or explor…

Suzana Da Costa
Wellness Coaching
$50 USD
Mental Health and Holistic Lifestyle Coaching

Hi there! I’m Doug and I offer 1 on 1 Holistic Lifestyle and Mental Health Coaching sessions. Navtigating life with mental health issues of any sevarity is a h…

Doug Peterson
Wellness Coaching
$10 USD
Mental Health and Holistic Lifestyle Coaching Consultation

Hi there! I’m Doug and I offer 1 on 1 Holistic Lifestyle and Mental Health Coaching sessions. Navtigating life with mental health issues of any sevarity is a h…

Doug Peterson
Family Psychology
$10 USD
Psychic Reading

Expert in Love Relationship, Tarot Psychic Reading
I can give you more powerful insight of every part of your life. With the help of Crystal ball my Psychic re…

Aamir Bilal

Related Articles