Neighbourhood social environment and depressive symptoms in mid-life and beyond

Mai Stafford, Anne Mcmunn, Roberto De Vogli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


This prospective study examines the relationship between aspects of the neighbourhood social environment and subsequent depressive symptoms in over 7,500 participants of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). Neighbourhood social environment at baseline was operationalised using four items capturing social cohesion and three items capturing perceived safety and associations with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) at two-year follow-up were assessed. Friendship quality and personal sense of control were tested as mediators of this relationship using structural equation modelling. Neighbourhood social cohesion was found to be associated with reporting fewer depressive symptoms independent of demographic and socioeconomic factors and baseline depressive symptoms. Friendship quality and sense of control mediated this association. The study highlights that greater personal sense of control, higher quality friendships and fewer depressive symptoms are found in neighbourhoods seen to be characterised by higher social cohesion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)893-910
Number of pages18
JournalAgeing and Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • friends
  • friendship quality
  • neighbourhood
  • prospective study
  • sense of control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Neighbourhood social environment and depressive symptoms in mid-life and beyond'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this