Perceptions of neighborhood dangerousness and changes in sleep quality during the COVID-19 pandemic: Assessing the mediating role of changes in health behaviors

Alexander Testa, Chantal Fahmy, Terrence D. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Numerous studies have demonstrated that neighborhood context contributes to variations in morbidity and mortality. This body of work includes a burgeoning literature that links adverse neighborhood characteristics (e.g., neighborhood poverty and perceptions of disorder and dangerousness) with poorer sleep outcomes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many neighborhoods exhibited socioeconomic downturns and escalations in crime and violence. The question is the extent to which these changes in neighborhood conditions have impacted the sleep quality of residents. In this paper, we use original survey data from the 2021 Crime, Health, and Politics Survey (CHAPS), a national probability sample of adults living in the U.S., to formally test whether changes in perceptions of neighborhood dangerousness during the pandemic are associated with sleep quality during the same period. Regression analyses show that while reports of a neighborhood becoming safer during the pandemic are associated with better sleep quality, reports of a neighborhood becoming more dangerous are associated with worse sleep quality. Mediation analyses also indicate that the association between increased neighborhood dangerousness and poorer sleep quality is partially explained by a concurrent deterioration in diet quality, but not increases in alcohol or cigarette consumption. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of our findings for research and policy on neighborhood context and sleep.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106991
JournalPreventive Medicine
Volume156
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • CHAPS
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Health behaviors
  • Neighborhood safety
  • Sleep
  • Sleep quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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