How community physical, structural, and social stressors relate to mental health in the urban slums of Accra, Ghana

Meredith J. Greif, F. Nii-Amoo Dodoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Urban health in developing counties is a major public health challenge. It has become increasingly evident that the dialog must expand to include mental health outcomes, and to shift focus to the facets of the urban environment that shape them. Population-based research is necessary, as empirical findings linking the urban environment and mental health have primarily derived from developed countries, and may not be generalizable to developing countries. Thus, the current study assesses the prevalence of mental health problems (i.e., depression, perceived powerlessness), as well as their community-based predictors (i.e., crime, disorder, poverty, poor sanitation, local social capital and cohesion), among a sample of 690 residents in three poor urban communities in Accra, Ghana. It uncovers that residents in poor urban communities in developing countries suffer from mental health problems as a result of local stressors, which include not only physical and structural factors but social ones. Social capital and social cohesion show complex, often unhealthy, relationships with mental health, suggesting considerable drawbacks in making social capital a key focus among policymakers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-66
Number of pages10
JournalHealth and Place
Volume33
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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