Neighborhood mismatch: Examining mental health service access through proximal distance
Rine, Christine M.
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Research suggests that neighborhood contextual factors affect individuals residing in them in many different ways as supported by current literature. Of particular interest in this study are children and adolescents as they most often do not have a voice in deciding on their neighborhood of residence and the fact that theory supports that early development may be impacted by particular environmental risks. This study supports a relationship between the neighborhood characteristics of income, tenure, and race with the creation of at-risk neighborhoods for children and adolescents. The purpose of this study is to identify, propose, and statistically compare more desirable mental health service locations for children and adolescents vs. current locations based on a purported standard of care and need. The unit of analysis is the 90 census tracts of Buffalo, NY., independent variables include age, income, residential tenure, and race while the dependent variable is distance to mental health locations serving children and adolescents. This is accomplished through examining how a convergence of neighborhood factors limit access to services for children and adolescents in Buffalo, NY. Two-tailed Pearson Correlations of 1.0 reveal that low income, low tenure, and low race census tracts significantly correlate at the .01 level suggesting that these variables contribute to proximal access to resources for this population. GIS mapping techniques were used to find that neighborhoods differ greatly on these variables suggesting that neighborhood factors impact access to services for children and adolescents. These findings inform service providers as to where individuals whom are at-risk are likely to reside. Among other applications, this information can be useful to social workers in effectively and efficiently planning service locations, assessing need, and disseminating information. Key words . children, adolescents, mental health, mapping, GIS, service planning
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