The intersection of neighborhood and race in urban adolescent health risk behaviors

J Community Psychol. 2022 Nov 26. doi: 10.1002/jcop.22963. Online ahead of print.


Aims: Racial variability in associations of neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage and neighborhood disorder with adolescent health risk behaviors remains under-researched, which this study examined over 1 year among racially diverse adolescents.

Methods: High school students (N = 345; 18% Asian, 44% Black, 16% Multiracial, 22% White) completed surveys assessing neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage and neighborhood disorder, and health risk behaviors (lifetime alcohol, cannabis, and cigarette use, number of sexual partners) at baseline (Year 1) and 1-year follow-up (Year 2).

Results: Asian, Black, and Multiracial adolescents were more likely to endorse health risk behaviors in Year 2 compared to White adolescents living in similarly disadvantaged neighborhoods at Year 1. Associations of neighborhood disorder with health risk behavior did not differ by race.

Conclusion: Neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage (but not neighborhood disorder) may predispose Asian, Black, and Multiracial adolescents to health risk behaviors. Findings may inform interventions to address racial disparities in adolescent health risk behaviors.

Keywords: adolescent; health disparity; health inequities; health risk behaviors; neighborhood safety; neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage; racial minority.