New study shows connection between urban environments and children's mental health

A new study found that crime and a lack of neighborly trust can lead to greater rates of psychotic symptoms in children.

The study—which was led by Candice Odgers, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience and public policy, and Helen Fisher, senior lecturer at King’s College London—was the first to specifically determine how urban environments and psychosis are associated. Previous research merely established the connection. The study found that low social cohesion and crime victimization together explained almost a quarter of the reason 12-year-old children who lived in urban areas at age five experienced psychotic symptoms.

“What we wanted to do was look inside communities and see what are the specific things ... that might explain why children growing up in poor neighborhoods or urban neighborhoods show worse health outcomes,” Odgers said. 

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