Direct and moderating effects of community context on the psychological well-being of African American women

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2000 Dec;79(6):1088-101. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.79.6.1088.


The effects of community characteristics on well-being were examined among 709 African American women. Direct and moderating effects of neighborhood characteristics on distress were tested. Aggregate-level ratings of neighborhood cohesion and disorder were significantly related to distress, although the relation between cohesion and distress became nonsignificant when individual risk factors were statistically controlled. Aggregate-level neighborhood variables interacted significantly with individual risk and resource variables in the prediction of distress, consistent with trait-situation interaction theories (D. Magnusson & N. S. Endler, 1977). Community cohesion intensified the benefits of a positive life outlook. Community disorder intensified both the benefits of personal resources and the detrimental effects of personal risk factors. Results showed evidence of resilience among African American women.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • Mothers / psychology
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Social Environment*
  • Social Identification*
  • Social Support