Handbooks of Research Methods and Applications series
Edited by Yaojun Li
Chapter 14: Social capital, ethnic density and mental health among ethnic minority people in England: a mixed-methods study
Ethnic minority people have been reported to be healthier when living in neighbourhoods with a higher concentration of people from their own ethnic group, a so-called ethnic density effect (Halpern and Nazroo, 2000; Pickett and Wilkinson, 2008; Becares et al., 2009; Becares et al., 2012a; Shaw et al., 2012). These findings might seem counterintuitive, given that ethnic minority people are overrepresented in deprived neighbourhoods (Karlsen et al., 2002; Becares et al., 2012b; Stafford et al., 2009), which have been found to be associated with poorer health across a wide range of outcomes (Pickett and Pearl, 2001; Riva et al., 2007). However, when adjusting for the concentration of poverty and deprivation in a neighbourhood, several studies in the US, UK and elsewhere have found ethnic minority people who live in ethnically dense areas to have better mental health (Shaw et al., 2012) and, for some outcomes, physical health (Becares et al., 2012a) compared with ethnic minority people living in areas with lower ethnic density. Ethnic density, which is generally thought of in terms of the negative impacts of residential concentration, can also be considered in terms of social networks and supportive communities, providing health protective and promoting effects for ethnic minority people (Halpern and Nazroo, 2000; Becares et al., 2009; Pickett and Wilkinson, 2008).
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