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Happy home and social life makes living in a poor neighbourhood more bearable for adolescents

Individual and family attributes may make some adolescents more 'resilient' to the effects of living in a disadvantaged community, according to new research sponsored by the ESRC.

How inner city young people feel about their own psychological and social health and the area where they live is influenced by differences in home and social life as well as the physical environment, says a study led by Professor Sarah Curtis, of Queen Mary, University of London.

Research based on The RELACHS survey among 2,790 adolescents in 28 schools in East London, found also that other young people may have characteristics making them more susceptible to the impact of area deprivation (see Notes for Editors).

Data from the survey was linked to details about the neighbourhoods where the youngsters were living, enabling researchers to gather individual information about each young person and their family.

Professor Curtis said: "Overall, individual adolescents seemed to be sensitive to conditions in the areas where they lived. They were more likely to have negative perceptions of the neighbourhood if their homes were in more disadvantaged areas.

"We also found that the young people's dissatisfaction with their neighbourhood, and negative perceptions of local amenities, were quite strongly and positively associated with psychological distress.

"However, we cannot ascertain whether this was because poor perception of the neighbourhood contributed to their psychological distress, or that distressed children were more likely to view their neighbourhood negatively."

From the survey, researchers examined information including adolescents' own views of their psychological and social health, their perception of local amenities, general satisfaction or otherwise with their neighbourhood, their ethnic group and whether they had a long-term illness or special educational needs.

The survey also showed whether the young people lived wi
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Contact: Becky Gammon
becky.gammon@esrc.ac.uk
44-179-341-3122
Economic & Social Research Council
11-Jan-2005


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