Neighborhood characteristics: Influences on pain and physical function in youth at risk for chronic pain

Cathleen Schild, Emily A. Reed, Tessa Hingston, Catlin H. Dennis, Anna C. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Neighborhood features such as community socioeconomic status, recreational facilities, and parks have been correlated to the health outcomes of the residents living within those neighborhoods, especially with regard to health-related quality of life, body mass index, and physical activity. The interplay between one’s built environment and one’s perceptions may affect physical health, well-being, and pain experiences. In the current study, neighborhood characteristics and attitudes about physical activity were examined in a high-risk (youths with a parent with chronic pain) and low-risk (youths without a parent with chronic pain) adolescent sample. There were significant differences in neighborhood characteristics between the high-risk (n = 62) and low-risk (n = 77) samples (ages 11–15), with low-risk participants living in residences with more walkability, closer proximity to parks, and higher proportion of neighborhood residents having college degrees. Results indicate that neighborhood features (e.g., walkability and proximity to parks), as well as positive attitudes about physical activity were correlated with lower levels of pain and pain-related disability, and higher performance in physical functioning tests. These findings suggest that the built environment may contribute to pain outcomes in youth, above and beyond the influence of family history of pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number35
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2016


  • Adolescents
  • Attitudes about physical activity
  • Chronic pain
  • Walkability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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