Neighborhood characteristics are important correlates for a variety of health outcomes. Among several health risk behaviors, smoking and alcohol use have significant consequences. Perceptions of neighborhood problems are associated with depressive symptoms, lower physical activity, and lower quality of life. However, it is unclear which perceived aspects of neighborhoods might be related to smoking and drinking. We examined whether perceived neighborhood characteristics were associated with smoking and drinking patterns using data from US metropolitan Midwestern area adults. Participants completed surveys including sociodemographic characteristics, neighborhood perceptions, behavioral and psychological health. For men, negative perceptions of neighborhood infrastructures were significant predictors for smoking and binge drinking. Among women, no perceived environmental factors were associated with smoking or drinking. However, education was a significant negative predictor for smoking. As age increased, the likelihood of using cigarettes, heavy and binge drinking in women decreased significantly. Depression was a positive predictor for smoking and heavy drinking in men and women, respectively. These findings indicate that the perceived neighborhood infrastructure was predictive of health behaviors among men, even after adjusting for key confounders. Closer attention may need to be paid to the role of neighborhood environmental characteristics along with individual-level characteristics in influencing unhealthy behaviors.
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