In the Media
New article: Classifying areas along a rural-urban continuum using self-report
New article: Testing subgroup differences in large psychometric models
Centre for Urban Mental Health returns a 2nd year to teach honours course for talented students
A new Frontiers paper on the interplay between resilience and quality of life in later life
PNAS Commentary "No robust relation between larger cities and depression"
''Larger cities provide a buffer against depression'' - this statement is from a recent PNAS article by Stier et al. (2021) on how depression rates scale with the population of Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). However, this statement runs contrary to a wealth of psychological and epidemiological research showing the complex nature of depression and the detrimental influence of cities.
UMH Researchers have assessed the quality of the data through a short commentary, which was recently published alongside the original article in PNAS. They focused on assessing the stability of the findings with varying city definitions, in particular the spatial extent of cities. Their re-analysis suggests that Stier and colleagues` conclusion is unstable; it holds for cities larger than 78km in radius.
For a narrower city definition, the original article's finding disappears and even suggests that larger cities pose a risk for depression. Taken together, the analysis by UMH researchers shows that cities can have both a protective and a detrimental effect on depression depending on how they are defined.
The researchers conclude with three key take-aways: (1) the definition of cities (minimum inhabitants size and spatial area) are heavily influencing findings; (2) cities influence on mental health is not straightforward, both between cities (i.e., between two cities) and within cities (i.e., city core versus suburbs) dynamics exist; (3) always be sceptical of flashy findings.
Read the commentary here.
Systematic review published on social instability stress in animal models
Many aspects of our modern society, such as a high population density (e.g. in an urban environment), increase our frequency of social interactions. While a high number of social interactions can be beneficial and attractive for some individuals, it may provoke stress for others. Furthermore, prolonged social stress represents an important risk factor for the development of psychiatric disorders, including depression and anxiety disorders.
Read the review here.
UMH PhD Retreat to Groet, NL 2021
We had a wonderful time in November 2021 working on UMH research with the PhD students.
UMH PhD Candidates & Co-director Claudi Bockting
Several UMH PhD Candidates
During the UMH PhD Retreat 2021 in Groet
Recap of the 'Cities & Health' Urban Studies Networking Event
On the 1st of June the Centre for Urban Studies (CUS) co-hosted the fifth edition of the Urban Studies Networking Event. This event, organized by the CUS, was co-hosted with the Centre for Urban Mental Health (UMH) and the Centre for Social Sciences and Global Health (SSGH). The event aimed to explore shared interests and to stimulate future collaborations between scholars looking at health aspects in urban areas from different methodological, epistemological and ontological perspectives.
Read the recap here.