Measurement of Social Processes at the Neighborhood Level in Baltimore City

Stacey C. Williams, Adam J. Milam, C. Debra M. Furr-Holden, Carlos Castillo Salgado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract : Small-area ecological research is critical to inform place-based interventions at the neighborhood level; however, objective measurement of the social context has been limited. The current study extends the application of the Neighborhood Inventory for Environmental Typology (NIfETy) through the development and evaluation of measures of social context for a longer period of observation (3 years) and at a larger area of aggregation (census tract clusters) compared to previous studies using measures at the block-face level from a single observation. Observations from the 172-item inventory were collected from a random sample of block faces (n = 793) in Baltimore City annually over a three-year period. Through a multistep process including replication of previous measures, data reduction, and factor analysis, six unique neighborhood-level indices were generated to describe the environmental context: drug and alcohol use, violence, physical disorder, epicenter, youth activity, and improvements. An assessment of measurement consistency and validity provided support for some indices, while others had notable limitations. These indices can assist local policymakers and public health practitioners assessing the needs of individual neighborhoods and evaluating the effectiveness of place-based interventions designed to improve the neighborhood environment and population health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-64
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican journal of community psychology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Measurement
  • Neighborhoods
  • Public health
  • Small-area ecological research
  • Substance use
  • Violence
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Residence Characteristics/statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Social Environment
  • Substance-Related Disorders/epidemiology
  • Baltimore/epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Violence/statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Applied Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Measurement of Social Processes at the Neighborhood Level in Baltimore City'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this