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Urbanicity is Associated with Behavioral and Emotional Problems in Elementary School-Aged Children
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Centre for Research on Child and Adolescent Mental Health (from 2013). Radboud UniversityNijmegenThe Netherlands, VU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherland.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5053-8373
VU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands; Erasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands.
Radboud UniversityNijmegenThe Netherlands.
Radboud UniversityNijmegenThe Netherlands.
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2018 (English)In: Journal of Child and Family Studies, ISSN 1062-1024, E-ISSN 1573-2843, Vol. 27, no 7, p. 2193-2205Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Abstract: Adults are 38% more likely to suffer from a psychiatric disorder when they live in an urban compared to a rural area. Urban upbringing may be particularly important. The aim of the present study was to examine whether urbanicity was independently associated with mental health in elementary school-aged children. Specifically, we investigated whether living in a more urban area was associated with exhibiting more behavioral and emotional problems, and whether this remained while controlling for other major risk factors for mental health problems in children. Data came from a Dutch general population study of children (n = 895). Information from four waves was used, in which children were aged approximately 8, 9, 11, and 12 years old. We used mixed effects models to assess the association between urbanicity and the outcomes of behavioral problems and emotional problems separately, while controlling for other major risk factors. The analyses showed that children who lived in more urban areas were significantly more likely to exhibit behavioral (p < .001) and emotional (p < .001) problems. This effect remained when controlling for neighborhood socioeconomic status, gender, ethnicity, family socioeconomic status, parental symptoms of psychopathology, parenting stress, and parenting practices (behavioral: p = .02, emotional: p = .009). In line with research in adults, urbanicity seems to be independently associated with behavioral and emotional problems in children. A possible underlying mechanism is that the city is a stressful environment for children to grow up in, which contributes to an increased risk for mental health problems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 27, no 7, p. 2193-2205
Keywords [en]
Behavioral problems, Children, Emotional problems, Mental health, Urbanicity
National Category
Psychology Sociology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-67081DOI: 10.1007/s10826-018-1062-zISI: 000434852600011Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85044543936OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-67081DiVA, id: diva2:1198878
Available from: 2018-04-19 Created: 2018-04-19 Last updated: 2018-07-04Bibliographically approved

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