The purpose of this study was to determine if self-reported characteristics of social cohesion and local neighborhood safety positively affect the mental health of their residents, regardless of individual characteristics. A sample of participants in the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil) baseline was used. The Clinical Interview Schedule-Revised (CIS-R) instrument was used for tracking common mental disorders (CMD). Social cohesion and safety were measured by validated scales of neighborhood environment self-reported characteristics. The multilevel logistic regression model was used to estimate the effect in neighborhoods (level 2) and individuals (level 1), as well as the odds ratios for each neighborhood explanatory variable and social characteristics in the CMD. The results showed that part of the variance (2.3%), in the common mental disorders prevalence is attributed to local neighborhoods. The characteristics of social cohesion and safety remained significant, even after the adjustment of individual explanatory variables. This study confirmed the hypothesis that individuals living in neighborhoods where they perceive low social cohesion and safety present a higher chance of developing CMD.
Mental Disorders; Social Environment; Multilevel Analysis