Associations between neighborhood characteristics and child well-being before and during the COVID-19 pandemic: A repeated cross-sectional study in the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program

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Abstract

The corona virus disease (COVID-19) pandemic disrupted daily life worldwide, and its impact on child well-being remains a major concern. Neighborhood characteristics affect child well-being, but how these associations were affected by the pandemic is not well understood. We analyzed data from 1039 children enrolled in the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes Program whose well-being was assessed using the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Global Health questionnaire and linked these data to American Community Survey (ACS) data to evaluate the impacts of neighborhood characteristics on child well-being before and during the pandemic. We estimated the associations between more than 400 ACS variables and child well-being t-scores stratified by race/ethnicity (non-Hispanic white vs. all other races and ethnicities) and the timing of outcome data assessment (pre-vs. during the pandemic). Network graphs were used to visualize the associations between ACS variables and child well-being t-scores. The number of ACS variables associated with well-being t-scores decreased during the pandemic period. Comparing non-Hispanic white with other racial/ethnic groups during the pandemic, different ACS variables were associated with child well-being. Multiple ACS variables representing census tract-level housing conditions and neighborhood racial composition were associated with lower well-being t-scores among non-Hispanic white children during the pandemic, while higher percentage of Hispanic residents and higher percentage of adults working as essential workers in census tracts were associated with lower well-being t-scores among non-white children during the same study period. Our study provides insights into the associations between neighborhood characteristics and child well-being, and how the COVID-19 pandemic affected this relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118765
JournalEnvironmental Research
Volume252
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2024

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