Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Social Welfare

Content Description

1 online resource (xii, 102 pages) : 1 color illustration.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Blanca Ramos

Committee Members

Philip McCallion, Yong Li


Depression, Latinas, Neighborhood Effects, Hispanic American women, Depression in women, Worry, Anxiety in women, Public safety

Subject Categories

Psychiatric and Mental Health | Social Work


Previous research has confirmed that neighborhood level social factors (e.g. crime, safety) present chronic stressors that increase risk for depression in residents of economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. U.S. Latinos experience higher levels of poverty and thus are more likely to live in poor neighborhoods. In this study it was hypothesized that adult Latina women who reported (1) higher levels of worry regarding the general safety of their household children in the neighborhood, (2) higher levels of worry regarding influence of bad friends on their household children, and (3) higher levels of worry regarding their household children being exposed to drugs and alcohol, would also report higher levels of depression after controlling for the individual level characteristics of level of acculturation, education, age, income and marital status. This study used a cross-sectional survey design and a convenience sample of 136 Latina women. Depression was measured using the CES-D Spanish version. Hierarchical multiple linear regression analysis revealed that the first step consisting of control variables was significantly correlated with depression, R2 =.14, F (5,130) =4.261, p = .001. In step two, after entering the neighborhood level variables, the resulting R2 increased significantly, R2 = .21, F (1, 129) = 10.937, p < .001. The relationship between depression and each CES-D subscale was also explored. Understanding both micro and macro level factors that contribute to depression is essential for developing complex multi-level explanatory models and designing effective interventions. This study contributes to an emerging critical framework that illustrates how public policy influences the more proximal mechanisms that contribute to mental health and health problems.