Area-level deprivation, neighbourhood factors and associations with mental health

January 30, 2023

 PLoS ONE, Volume 18, Issue 1, January 2023. 

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The COVID-19 pandemic saw residential neighbourhoods become more of a focal point in people's lives, where people were greater confined to living, working, and undertaking leisure in their locality. This study investigates whether area-level deprivation and neighbourhood conditions influence mental health, accounting for demographic, socio-economic and health circumstances of individuals. Using nationally representative data from Ireland, regression modelling revealed that area-level deprivation did not in itself have a discernible impact on mental health status (as measured using the Mental Health Inventory-5 instrument and the Energy and Vitality Index), or likelihood of having suffered depression in the previous 12 months. However, positive perceptions of area safety, service provision, and area cleanliness were associated with better mental health, as was involvement in social groups. Broad ranging policies investing in neighbourhoods, could have benefits for mental health, which may be especially important for deprived communities.