Academic journal article Human Ecology

Crowded Homes Are Stressful

Academic journal article Human Ecology

Crowded Homes Are Stressful

Article excerpt

Dispelling widely held myths about various ethnic groups' tolerance of crowding, a new Cornell study finds that Asian Americans and Latin Americans are just as uncomfortable in crowded homes as are Anglo Americans (Americans of European descent) and African Americans.

"Contrary to popular beliefs and many scientists' views, we find no evidence that Asian and Latin Americans can better withstand or tolerate the adverse psychological consequences of living in crowded homes," says Gary Evans, professor of design and environmental analysis. Evans is an environmental psychologist interested in how the physical environment can affect human health and well-being. He is an international expert on environmental stress resulting from noise, crowding, inadequate housing, and air pollution.

The study appears in a recent issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (vol. 79, 2000). Besides Evans, the authors are Steve Lepore, an associate professor at Brooklyn College, and Karen Allen, a research associate at the School of Medicine, University of California-Irvine.

The study concludes that residential crowding is harmful to people regardless of their culture. Furthermore, this finding occurs independently of household income levels. Mexican Americans and Vietnamese Americans, however, the study says, tend to perceive their homes as less crowded (based on a given number of people per room) relative to African Americans or Anglo American individuals. But, the study cautions, crowding perceptions do not translate into greater resilience to psychological distress in response to high residential density. …

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