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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Do Physical Neighborhood Characteristics Matter in Predicting Traffic Stress and Health Outcomes?


This study examines whether social, and physical environment characteristics related to urban design interact with individual perceptions of traffic stress to influence individual well-being. The Chinese American Psychiatric Epidemiologic Study data, the US census data, and the Geographic Information System (GIS) data are employed. Analyses used hierarchical linear modeling. The results indicate that perceived traffic stress was associated with lower health status and higher depression. More importantly, higher density of major streets and greater vehicular burden in the neighborhood pose potential harm to health by reinforcing the negative impacts of perceived traffic stress. On the other hand, more park land in the neighborhood could alleviate the damage of traffic stress on individual’s well-being. The implications of the results for future research are discussed.

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