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Urbanicity, biological stress system functioning and mental health in adolescents
Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands / Centre for Research on Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Karlstad University, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5053-8373
University of Skövde, School of Health Sciences. University of Skövde, Digital Health Research (DHEAR). Section of Clinical Developmental Psychology, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Kvinna, barn, ungdom och familj (WomFam), Woman, Child, Youth and Family)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2015-4819
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychology, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Department of Psychiatry, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
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2020 (English)In: PLoS ONE, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 15, no 3, article id e0228659Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Growing up in an urban area has been associated with an increased chance of mental health problems in adults, but less is known about this association in adolescents. We examined whether current urbanicity was associated with mental health problems directly and indirectly via biological stress system functioning. Participants (n = 323) were adolescents from the Dutch general population. Measures included home and laboratory assessments of autonomic nervous system and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis functioning, neighborhood-level urbanicity and socioeconomic status, and mother- and adolescent self-reported mental health problems. Structural equation models showed that urbanicity was not associated with mental health problems directly. Urbanicity was associated with acute autonomic nervous system and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis reactivity such that adolescents who lived in more urban areas showed blunted biological stress reactivity. Furthermore, there was some evidence for an indirect effect of urbanicity on mother-reported behavioral problems via acute autonomic nervous system reactivity. Urbanicity was not associated with overall autonomic nervous system and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis reactivity or basal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis functioning. Although we observed some evidence for associations between urbanicity, biological stress reactivity and mental health problems, most of the tested associations were not statistically significant. Measures of long-term biological stress system functioning may be more relevant to the study of broader environmental factors such as urbanicity. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Public Library of Science , 2020. Vol. 15, no 3, article id e0228659
National Category
Neurosciences Psychiatry
Research subject
Woman, Child and Family (WomFam)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-18344DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0228659PubMedID: 32187199Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85081907198OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-18344DiVA, id: diva2:1417126
Available from: 2020-03-26 Created: 2020-03-26 Last updated: 2020-04-22Bibliographically approved

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Huizink, Anja

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