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Perceived Neighborhood Disorder, Community Cohesion, and PTSD Symptoms Among Low-Income African Americans in an Urban Health Setting


concerning this article should be addressed to Bekh Bradley, Atlanta VA Medical Center, Emory University, 1670 Clairmont Road, Decatur, GA 30033. Electronic mail may be sent to


Studies have established a link between contextual factors, such as neighborhood and community environments, and psychopathology. Although these factors have been shown to affect the expression of symptoms of depression and other disorders, little evidence exists of a link between contextual factors and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The current study tested the relationships among perceived neighborhood disorder (a measure of self-reported perceptions of the physical environment), community cohesion (a measure of perceived social ties), and self-reported PTSD symptoms while controlling for previous trauma exposure in a low-income, urban, African American population. Regression analyses indicated that both neighborhood disorder and community cohesion are related to PTSD symptoms after controlling for trauma exposure. Community cohesion, however, was found to be a partial mediator of the relationship between neighborhood disorder and PTSD symptoms.