Changes in Neighborhood Social Control and Disorder and Their Relationship to Exercise Behavior

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Neighborhood disorder influences a myriad of health conditions and behaviors, including physical activity. Disorder diminishes individuals’ perceptions of neighborhood safety, which then potentially reduces exercise behavior. This study explores the relationship between individuals’ perceptions of neighborhood disorder, social control, and their exercise behavior, and whether individuals’ perceived changes in disorder and social control are also related to exercise behavior. Using the Community, Crime, and Health survey, we employ Poisson-logit hurdle models to address these questions. Results show that the safer respondents perceive their neighborhood, the more days a week they engage in moderate exercise. Perceptual changes had similar effects for moderate and strenuous exercise. Perceptual decreases in graffiti increase moderate exercise. Perceived reductions in overall social control and disorder as well as other cues decreased the likelihood and overall amount of strenuous exercise. In conclusion, when individuals perceive that their environment is improving, this may encourage increased exercise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)717-748
Number of pages32
JournalEnvironment and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019


  • built environment
  • exercise
  • health behaviors
  • neighborhood disorder
  • physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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