Does neighbourhood identification buffer against the effects of socioeconomic disadvantage on self-harm?
Taylor, Peter J; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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AbstractSocioeconomic disadvantage and lack of group belonging (i.e., social identity) have been linked to poor mental health. However, no research has investigated the relationship between neighbourhood identity and self-harm, nor whether identifying with one's neighbourhood can mitigate the effects of economic stress on self-harm. Pre-registered secondary data analysis of a large (N = 3412) community health survey conducted in disadvantaged areas of North West England. Despite the sample having a relatively high and therefore restricted level of disadvantage, individual and geographic indicators of disadvantage, as well as neighbourhood identification, were unique and strong predictors of self-harm thoughts and behaviours across several analyses. Specifically, experiencing disadvantage and disidentification predicted significantly higher odds of self-harm and self-harm thoughts. No consistent interactive effects emerged. The cross-sectional design limits firm conclusions regarding causal effects of neighbourhood identity and disadvantage on self-harm. However, causal direction is supported by past research and theory. The data is self-report, which is subject to response bias. The sample was also recruited from a region of the UK with low numbers of residents from ethnic minority backgrounds. The results are consistent with past research indicating an association between social identity and better mental health, but for the first time extend these effects to self-harm. The findings demonstrate the importance of considering social and economic factors when attempting to prevent suicide and understand and treat self-harm thoughts. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.]
CitationJournal of affective disorders, volume 294, page 857-863
DescriptionFrom PubMed via Jisc Publications Router
History: received 2021-05-10, revised 2021-07-15, accepted 2021-07-26
Publication status: aheadofprint