Posted on Sep 23, 2011, 6 a.m.
People who trust their neighbors enjoy better health.
In that an individual’s relative position in a community or population can influence their health, Eileen Bjornstrom, from the University of Missouri (Missouri, USA) examined data collected in the 2001 Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey. Contrary to expectations, she found that respondents with a higher income, relative to their community, were more likely to be distrustful of their neighbors. Simultaneously, while taking into account factors such as level of education, income, and age, people who reported that “their neighbors can be trusted” also reported better health on average. She posits that shared community resources help to promote interaction and bridge the neighborhood trust gap, serving to promote health and well-being. Consequently, the researcher urges that: “Residents of all economic statuses might then benefit if community cohesion was increased.”
Eileen E.S. Bjornstrom. “The neighborhood context of relative position, trust, and self-rated health.” Social Science & Medicine, Volume 73, Issue 1, July 2011, Pages 42-49.