Inequitable Housing Practices and Youth Internalizing Symptoms: Mediation Via Perceptions of Neighborhood Cohesion

Richard C. Sadler*, Julia W. Felton, Jill A. Rabinowitz, Terrinieka W. Powell, Amanda Latimore, Darius Tandon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Disordered urban environments negatively impact mental health symptoms and disorders. While many aspects of the built environment have been studied, one influence may come from inequitable, discriminatory housing practices such as redlin-ing, blockbusting, and gentrification. The patterns of disinvestment and reinvestment that follow may be an underlying mechanism predicting poor mental health. In this study, we examine pathways between such practices and internalizing symptoms (i.e., anxiety and depression) among a sample of African American youth in Baltimore, Maryland, considering moderation and mediation pathways including neighborhood social cohesion and sex. In our direct models, the inequitable housing practices were not significant predictors of social cohesion. In our sex moderation model, however, we find nega-tive influences on social cohesion: for girls from gentrification, and for boys from blockbusting. Our moderated mediation model shows that girls in gentrifying neighborhoods who experience lower social cohesion have higher levels of internalizing symptoms. Likewise for boys, living in a formerly blockbusted neighborhood generates poorer social cohesion, which in turn drives higher rates of internalizing symptoms. A key implication of this work is that, in addition to standard measures of the contemporary built environment, considering other invisible patterns related to discriminatory and inequitable housing practices is important in understanding the types of neighborhoods where anxiety and depression are more preva-lent. And while some recent work has discussed the importance of considering phenomena like redlining in considering long‐term trajectories of neighborhoods, other patterns such as blockbusting and gentrification may be equally important.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-166
Number of pages14
JournalUrban Planning
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022


  • Baltimore
  • anxiety
  • blockbusting
  • depression
  • gentrification
  • internalizing symptoms
  • neighborhood social cohesion
  • redlining

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urban Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'Inequitable Housing Practices and Youth Internalizing Symptoms: Mediation Via Perceptions of Neighborhood Cohesion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this