Accession Number:

ADA634083

Title:

Effects of the Physical Environment on Social Support and the Stress Response

Descriptive Note:

Doctoral thesis

Corporate Author:

UNIFORMED SERVICES UNIV OF THE HEALTH SCIENCES BETHESDA MD

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1986-02-04

Pagination or Media Count:

204.0

Abstract:

This study examined the effects of architectural arrangement on social support and the stress response. Two types of architectural design were studied a design facilitative of social interaction, where apartment buildings were arranged in a court-like pattern with apartments facing one another. and a design which was not facilitative of social interaction, where apartment buildings were arranged on streets with open fields or businesses, rather than apartments, opposing them. The major hypothesis of this study was that the court design would facilitate greater use of space surrounding the apartments and that differences in the use of this space would lead to greater friendship formation and perceptions of support from neighbors in the court-like design. Seventy-two subjects participated. The housing authority assigned subjects to the two architectural layouts randomly and subjects were similar on all major demographics. Subjects were visited in their homes by an experimenter and completed questionnaires measuring levels of stressors experienced, satisfaction with their neighborhood, and stress responding self-reported symptoms. Subjects also completed a behavioral performance task proofreading and endocrinological measures of sympathetic nervous system arousal were obtained. Several measures of social support e.g., perceived emotional support, perceived neighbor support, and a support network inventory were obtained. Experimenters performed behavioral mapping procedures on ten separate occasions in order to observe differences in the use of the space surrounding the dwellings.

Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law
  • Stress Physiology

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE