Neighborhood disorder, fear, and mistrust: the buffering role of social ties with neighbors

Am J Community Psychol. 2000 Aug;28(4):401-20. doi: 10.1023/a:1005137713332.


This paper proposes that individuals who report that they live in neighborhoods characterized by disorder--by crime, vandalism, graffiti, danger, noise, dirt, and drugs--have high levels of fear and mistrust. It further proposes that an individual's alliances and connections with neighbors can buffer the negative effects of living in a neighborhood characterized by disorder on fear and mistrust. Results from a representative sample of 2482 Illinois residents collected by telephone in 1995 support the propositions. Living in a neighborhood with a lot of perceived disorder significantly affects mistrust and the fear of victimization, adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics. Perceived neighborhood disorder and social ties significantly interact: informal social ties with neighbors reduce the fear- and mistrust-producing effects of disorder. However, formal participation in neighborhood organizations shows little buffering effect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Crime / psychology
  • Fear*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Social Problems / psychology*
  • Social Support*