Background: Neighborhood social cohesion (NSC) may contribute to understanding how neighborhood contexts influence the physical and mental health of residents.
Purpose: We examined the relation of NSC to self-rated mental and physical health and evaluated the mediating role of NSC on relations between neighborhood socioeconomic status, ethnic composition, and health.
Methods: A sample of 3,098 Hispanic and non-Hispanic residents within 597 census tracts in metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona rated their health, psychological distress, and their perceptions of NSC. Census tract estimates provided neighborhood contextual measures.
Results: Neighborhood social cohesion was significantly related to better physical and mental health. Both individually rated NSC and neighborhood-level NSC mediated relations between neighborhood contexts and health outcomes. Substantive findings were consistent across Hispanic and non-Hispanic residents.
Conclusions: The findings have implications for improving ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in physical and mental health through attention to social cohesion among neighborhood residents.