Archives: Mental health


Seeman 1996 - "Social ties and health: the benefits of social integration"

"Social ties and health: the benefits of social integration"
Annals of Epidemiology
September 1996; v6, n5; pp 442-451
On the Web
Relevance: Medium-high

An overview of major findings on social ties and health published since the mid-1970s. The upshot is that "social integration does appear to have a highly beneficial effect on post-myocardial infarction prognosis (functioning and longevity)." That is, while social ties do not affect the incidence of heart disease, they do affect recovery from it. Following, I limn the major findings recapitulated by Seeman.

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Sturm 2004 - "Suburban sprawl and physical and mental health"

R. Sturm, D.A. Cohen
“Suburban sprawl and physical and mental health”
Public Health
2004; 118; pp488-496
Relevance: high

Sturm and Cohen analyzed Healthcare for Communities phone survey data from 1998 and 2000/2001 that assessed 16 chronic physical health conditions or symptom clusters (e.g., asthma, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, etc.) and health-related quality of life, as well as depression and anxiety.

They correlated these findings with Reid Ewing/Smart Growth America's ranking of sprawl in major US metropolitan areas.  This ranking considered residential density, land use mix, degree of centering, and street accessibility. 

The result:  an increase in sprawl from one standard deviation less to one standard deviation more than average led to 96 more chronic medical problems per 1000 residents, which is approximately similar to an aging of the population of 4 years.  No correlation was found between sprawl and mental health.

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