The possiblity that the quality of neighbourhood as well as the characteristics of individuals can affect people's mental health is of increasing interest to researchers. Factors that are though to be influential include social capital - defined as 'the features of social organisation that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit' - and the quality of the residential environment. However, a study of 1,058 individuals between 16 and 75 in Neath, South Wales found that - once all other factors had been taken into account - people's postcodes accounted for only 2% of the variation in levels of mental illness. This compared to 37% for people's household suggesting that domestic circumstances might be more significant than residential ones after all.
Thomas, Hollie ... [et al] - Mental health and quality of residential environment British Journal of Psychiatry December 2007, 191, 500-505