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This quantitative cross-sectional survey study was conducted in collaboration with the New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC) to improve our understanding of the role of social cohesion in the Somerset neighborhood. Its aims were to help guide future efforts to improve the health of this community by considering whether social factors might contribute to overall health. In previous studies, social cohesion has been hypothesized to be related to overall self-reported health. In this study we examined the nature and strength of this relationship in a low socio-economic status population in Kensington. We used linear regression to evaluate cross-sectional survey data collected from 328 neighborhood residents. Data was collected on health information, social cohesion, demographic factors, health behaviors, and financial stability. Variables that were significantly associated with self-reported health were included in a multiple regression model to examine the relationship between social cohesion and self-reported health. Our findings were that social cohesion and overall health were related. We also found that stress was significantly associated with social cohesion as well as overall health; while the reach of this study stops short of being able to identify the causality of these relationships, organizations such as NKCDC could combine the strength of the relationships with their expertise in the relevant population to better inform their future programming. This study also revealed a number of areas that could be worthy of future study, including the importance of collective efficacy in improving population health and the effect of social cohesion on people’s health over the course of a longitudinal study.

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