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Article

Access to and Quality of Neighbourhood Public Open Space and Children’s Mental Health Outcomes: Evidence from Population Linked Data across Eight Australian Capital Cities

1
Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University, Melbourne 3000, Australia
2
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne 3052, Australia
3
Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne 3052, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Paul B. Tchounwou and Ling Tim Wong
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(11), 6780; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116780
Received: 28 March 2022 / Revised: 27 May 2022 / Accepted: 28 May 2022 / Published: 1 June 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Designing Cities That Support Healthy Child Development)
Neighbourhood-level interventions offer a promising opportunity to promote child mental health at a population level; however, neighbourhood effects are still regarded as a ‘black box’ and a better understanding of the specific design elements, such as public open space, is needed to inform actionable policy interventions. Methods: This study leveraged data from a population linked dataset (Australian Early Development Census—Built Environment) combining information from a national census of children’s developmental outcomes with individualised geospatial data. Associations between access to (within 400 m and 800 m from home), and quality of, public open space and child mental health outcomes across eight capital cities were estimated using multilevel logistic regression models, adjusting for demographic and contextual factors. Access was defined based on proximity of public open space to children’s home addresses, within distance thresholds (400 m, 800 m) measured along the road network. Effect modification was tested across maternal education groups. Results: Across the eight capital cities, inequities in access to child friendly public open spaces were observed across maternal education groups and neighbourhood disadvantage quintiles. Children with access to any type of public open space within 800 m of home had lower odds of demonstrating difficulties and higher odds of competence. Children with access to child friendly public open spaces within 800 m of home had the highest likelihood of demonstrating competence. Conclusion: Improving access to neighbourhood public open space appears to be a promising strategy for preventing mental health difficulties and promoting competence in early childhood. Action is needed to redress socio-spatial inequities in access to child friendly public open space. View Full-Text
Keywords: mental health; child development; inequities; social determinants; built environment; green space; public open space mental health; child development; inequities; social determinants; built environment; green space; public open space
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MDPI and ACS Style

Alderton, A.; O’Connor, M.; Badland, H.; Gunn, L.; Boulangé, C.; Villanueva, K. Access to and Quality of Neighbourhood Public Open Space and Children’s Mental Health Outcomes: Evidence from Population Linked Data across Eight Australian Capital Cities. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 6780. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116780

AMA Style

Alderton A, O’Connor M, Badland H, Gunn L, Boulangé C, Villanueva K. Access to and Quality of Neighbourhood Public Open Space and Children’s Mental Health Outcomes: Evidence from Population Linked Data across Eight Australian Capital Cities. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(11):6780. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116780

Chicago/Turabian Style

Alderton, Amanda, Meredith O’Connor, Hannah Badland, Lucy Gunn, Claire Boulangé, and Karen Villanueva. 2022. "Access to and Quality of Neighbourhood Public Open Space and Children’s Mental Health Outcomes: Evidence from Population Linked Data across Eight Australian Capital Cities" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 11: 6780. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116780

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