Neighborhood social cohesion and disease prevention in Asian immigrant populations

Prev Med. 2020 Dec;141:106298. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2020.106298. Epub 2020 Oct 22.


In the United States (US), chronic disease risk factors are highly prevalent among Asian immigrant communities, who also exhibit low health screening rates. Perceived neighborhood social cohesion (NSC) has been associated with preventive healthcare use in the general US population, although it remains unexplored among Asian Americans (AAs). The aim of this study is to evaluate the association between NSC and preventive screening for hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and depression among East, South and Southeast Asian American (EAA, SAA, SEAA) communities in New York City (NYC) using cross-sectional, locally collected data from 2013 to 2016. NSC was assessed using a 4-question scale to create an additive score between 4 and 16 and was analyzed both as a continuous and categorial variable (High, Medium, and Low tertiles). Recent screening was defined as a check-up within the last year for each of the included health conditions. A one-unit increase in NSC score was associated with increased odds of recent screening for high cholesterol in EAAs (AOR = 1.09, 95%CI:1.00-1.20); for high cholesterol, diabetes, and depression in SAAs (AOR = 1.08, 95%CI:1.00-1.20; AOR = 1.07, 95%CI:1.00-1.15; AOR = 1.15, 95%CI:1.06-1.25); and with high cholesterol among SEAAs (AOR = 1.12, 95%CI:1.00-1.25). Overall, NSC was an important facilitator for preventive screening behaviors for specific conditions in different groups, though was consistently associated with screening for high cholesterol in our sample. Enhancing NSC through family and community-based programming may be one strategy to encourage screening for preventive behaviors, though more research is needed to elucidate a precise mechanism.

Keywords: Asian immigrants; Cholesterol; Depression; Hypertension; Neighborhood environment; Screening; Social cohesion; Social support; Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Asian Americans
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Humans
  • New York City
  • Residence Characteristics
  • United States