Examining Perceptions of Neighborhood Safety and Social Capital Among African Americans Living in Disadvantaged Neighborhoods in Atlanta 公开

Shilling, Sara Janelle (2017)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/6w924c757?locale=zh
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Abstract

Background: Neighborhood characteristics can affect wellbeing. Living in a disadvantaged neighborhood has been previously linked to exposures such as violence and disorder, physical decay and disorder and crime, as well as other neighborhood stressors (Lowe et al., 2015; Mair, Diez Rouz, & Morenoff, 2010; Sampson, Raudenbush & Earls, 1997). Residents' perceptions of their neighborhood may influence social connections among residents, a concept that can be measured through the construct of social capital. Social connection has previously been identified as a protective factor when examining health outcomes; as social disconnectedness increases, a corresponding increase in various negative health behaviors, such as tobacco and alcohol use and physical inactivity, has been observed (Berkman, Glass, Brissette, & Seeman, 2000). Social capital has also been linked to self-reported health, with results showing that individuals reporting high levels of social capital also report better health (Kawachi, Kennedy & Glass, 1999).

Objective: The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between perceived neighborhood safety characteristics and social capital among African Americans living in disadvantaged neighborhoods in Atlanta, Georgia.

Methods: This study was a secondary cross-sectional analysis of the baseline data from a neighborhood survey, which examined peoples' perceptions of how their neighborhood impacted their actions, attitudes, and behaviors conducted in Atlanta, Georgia. Pearson correlation tests and multiple linear regressions were conducted in order to measure the associations between perceived neighborhood safety characteristics and social capital.

Results: The study found statistically significant associations between perceived neighborhood disorder and social capital and observed crime and social capital. The association between perceived neighborhood disorder and social capital was negative, indicating that increased perceptions of neighborhood disorder were associated with decreased social capital. The association between observed crime and social capital was positive, indicating that increased levels of observed crime was associated with increased social capital. Further, on average, males, individuals living in the neighborhood for three years or more, and individuals with higher educational attainment had higher levels of social capital.

Conclusions: Perceived neighborhood disorder and observed crime were identified as predictors of social capital among African Americans living in disadvantaged neighborhoods in Atlanta, Georgia. These findings indicate the need for longitudinal research to better understand the causal pathways that may exist between perceptions of neighborhood safety and social capital among disadvantaged urban neighborhoods. These findings should also be considered when developing initiatives that seek to improve social capital within this population.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER

INTRODUCTION 1
THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK 3
STUDY PURPOSE 5
RESEARCH QUESTION 6
THEORETICAL APPLICATION 6
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY 7
OPERATIONALIZATION OF TERMS 9

CHAPTER 2
INTRODUCTION 10
NEIGHBORHOOD DISORDER 10
CRIME FEAR 12
DEFINING SOCIAL CAPITAL 14
IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL CAPITAL 16
NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF SOCIAL CAPITAL 17
SOCIAL DISORGANIZATION THEORY 18
SUMMARY 19

CHAPTER 3
PARTICIPANTS 21
PARTICIPANT RECRUITMENT 22
DESIGN 22
MEASURES 23
DEMOGRAPHICS 23
SOCIAL CAPITAL 23
PERCEPTIONS OF NEIGHBORHOOD DISORDER 24
PERCEPTIONS OF NEIGHBORHOOD SAFETY 24
OBSERVED CRIME 25
PERCEIVED CRIME FEAR 25
TREATMENT OF THE DATA 25
PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS 26
ADDRESSING THE HYPOTHESIS 27

CHAPTER 4
INTRODUCTION 28
SAMPLE CHARACTERISTICS 28
NEIGHBORHOOD CHARACTERISTICS SCALES 28
CORRELATIONS BETWEEN PREDICTOR VARIABLES AND SOCIAL CAPITAL 29
CORRELATIONS BETWEEN DEMOGRAPHIC VARIABLES AND SOCIAL CAPITAL 29
CORRELATIONS BETWEEN NEIGHBORHOOD CHARACTERISTIC SCALES AND SOCIAL CAPITAL 30
ASSOCIATIONS BETWEEN PREDICTOR VARIABLES AND SOCIAL CAPITAL 30
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS 31

CHAPTER 5
INTRODUCTION 33
FINDINGS BY PERCEIVED NEIGHBORHOOD CHARACTERISTICS 33
PERCEIVED NEIGHBORHOOD DISORDER AND SOCIAL CAPITAL 33
OBSERVED CRIME AND SOCIAL CAPITAL 34
PERCEIVED CRIME FEAR, NEIGHBORHOOD SAFETY AND SOCIAL CAPITAL 35
OTHER FINDINGS 35
STRENGTHS 36
LIMITATIONS 36
IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 37
SUMMARY 38

REFERENCES 39

TABLES
TABLE 1 42
TABLE 2 43
TABLE 3 44
TABLE 4 45
TABLE 5 46

APPENDIX A 47

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