Community violence and urban childhood asthma: A multilevel analysis

M. J. Sternthal, H. J. Jun, F. Earls, R. J. Wright

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108 Scopus citations


We examined the association between community violence exposure and childhood asthma risk in a multilevel, multimethod, longitudinal study controlling for individual- and neighbourhood-level confounders and pathway variables. Analyses included 2,071 children aged 0-9 yrs at enrolment from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. Multilevel logistic regression models estimated the likelihood of asthma, controlling for individual-level (child's age, sex, race/ethnicity, maternal asthma, socioeconomic status and family violence in the home) and neighbourhood-level confounders (concentrated disadvantage, collective efficacy and social disorder), and pathway variables (maternal smoking, breastfeeding). In adjusted analyses, medium (OR 1.60, 95% CI 1.17-2.19) and high levels (OR 1.56, 95% CI 1.12-2.18) of community violence were associated with increased asthma risk, relative to low levels. The increased asthma risk remained for African Americans when models included community violence and all other individual-level covariates, but attenuated to borderline nonsignificance when further adjusting for collective efficacy. Community violence is associated with asthma risk when controlling for individual- and neighborhood-level confounders. Neither community violence, nor the other individual-level factors, fully accounted for the excess asthma burden among African Americans. These data suggest that public health interventions outside the biomedical model may be needed to reduce asthma in disadvantaged populations. Copyright

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1400-1409
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Asthma
  • Collective efficacy
  • Community violence
  • Multilevel analyses
  • Neighbourhood disadvantage
  • Social disorder


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