Individual mental health, life course events and dynamic neighbourhood change during the transition to adulthood

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Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, this study examines the relationship between significant changes in neighbourhood poverty during the transition to adulthood and shifts in depressive symptoms. We found that associations between changes in neighbourhood poverty and mental health disappeared after controlling for contemporaneous life course events, specifically transitions associated with intimate relationship building and human capital formation. The exception is a decrease in depressive symptoms for females moving into lower poverty neighbourhoods across the entire transition to adulthood period. We conclude that the impact of moving into significantly higher or lower poverty neighbourhoods during the transition to adulthood is conditioned on age, period and gender and complicated by the occurrence of other significant life course transitions.

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