Neighborhood, family, and subjective socioeconomic status: How do they relate to adolescent health?

Edith Chen*, Laurel Q. Paterson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

249 Scopus citations


This study investigated the role of neighborhood, family, and individual subjective socioeconomic status (SES) in predicting adolescent physical health and psychological characteristics. Three hundred fifteen adolescents completed assessments of blood pressure, cortisol, and body mass index (BMI). Results revealed that lower neighborhood SES was associated with higher BMI and lower basal cortisol levels and that these effects persisted after controlling for family SES. Both family SES and neighborhood SES predicted negative psychological characteristics and experiences such as hostility and discrimination. In contrast, only subjective SES predicted positive psychological characteristics. These findings suggest the importance of understanding influences at the individual, family, and neighborhood levels for optimally targeting interventions to reduce health disparities earlier in life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)704-714
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Adolescents
  • Family
  • Neighborhood
  • Physical health
  • Psychological characteristics
  • Socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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