Study objectives: Social epidemiologists have hypothesised that neighbourhood quality may exert an important contextual influence on mental and physical health. However, validated instruments do not exist for measuring neighbourhood quality in Taiwan. A self reported instrument to measure perceived neighbourhood quality in Taiwan was developed and tested.
Design: Community survey.
Setting: Southern Taiwan, including the metropolitan Kaohsiung area and eight surrounding communities, representing urban, suburban, and rural districts.
Participants: A total of 1084 residents, aged 18 to 75, were surveyed during 1999 to 2000.
Main results: Using factor analysis with varimax rotation, three subscales explained 54.8% of the variance in our 15 item Neighbourhood Quality Index: perceived social capital (Cronbach α=0.84), perceived security (α=0.78), and adequacy of services and facilities (α=0.67). Lower perceived neighbourhood social capital (odds ratio, OR, 1.26; 95% CI: 1.21 to 1.32), lower neighbourhood security (OR 1.37; 95% CI: 1.26 to 1.48), and inadequate neighbourhood services and facilities (OR 1.17; 95% CI: 1.06 to 1.28) were all related to higher residential dissatisfaction.
Conclusions: A Neighbourhood Quality Index was developed for use in Taiwan with good internal consistency and test-retest reliability, as well as convergent validity. Future studies will examine the association between this index and measures of individual mental and physical health.
- community mental health
- social capital
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Funding: the research was supported by grant (NSC 87-2413-H037-004 and NSC 89-2413-H-182–0030SSS) from National Science Council. Dr Kawachi is supported in part by the MacArthur Foundation Network on SES and Health.
Conflicts of interests: none.