Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 39–44 | Cite as

Neighborhood Environment and Internalizing Problems in African American Children

  • Adam J. Milam
  • C. Debra Furr-Holden
  • Damiya Whitaker
  • Mieka Smart
  • Philip Leaf
  • Michele Cooley-Strickland
Brief Report


This study examines gender differences in the association between environment and internalizing problems in a sample of predominately African American schoolchildren. Internalizing problems was assessed using the Youth Self Report. Violence and alcohol and other drug (AOD) exposure subscales were created using observational assessments of neighborhood blocks. Logistic regression models were used to assess the relationship between neighborhood environment and internalizing problems. For each AOD item present on the block the odds of internalizing problems among girls increased by 17% (OR = 1.17, CI: 1.01, 1.35, P = 0.039). The relationship was not significant among boys. Violence exposure did not predict internalizing problems in boys or girls. These preliminary findings suggest that primary school-aged girls’ emotional well-being is more negatively impacted by deleterious environments. Future investigations will examine the relationship between deleterious neighborhood environments and internalizing problems as the children age into adolescence.


Mental health Urban health Gender Youth African American 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam J. Milam
    • 1
  • C. Debra Furr-Holden
    • 1
  • Damiya Whitaker
    • 1
  • Mieka Smart
    • 1
  • Philip Leaf
    • 1
  • Michele Cooley-Strickland
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Mental HealthJohns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.NPI-Semel Institute, Center for Culture and Health, UCLALos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Center for Health Disparities Solutions, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA

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