A community based intervention program to enhance neighborhood cohesion: The Learning Families Project in Hong Kong

Chen Shen, Alice Wan, Lit Tung Kwok, Sally Pang, Xin Wang, Sunita M. Stewart, Tai Hing Lam, Sophia S. Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Neighborhood cohesion, which refers to the extent of the connectedness and solidarity among residents in a community or neighborhood, is an important determinant of human health. To enhance neighborhood cohesion, the “Learning Families Project” was developed with a series of intervention programs in Kwun Tong in Hong Kong, a district with low neighborhood cohesion. This project, based on the social ecological model, provided a platform for neighbors to learn, communicate and interact with each other. Methods: This quasi-experimental study included two nearby government subsidized low rent housing estates separated by busy main roads. One served as the intervention (Tsui Ping (South) Estate) and one as the control (Shun Tin Estate) estate. The intervention included promotion, resident training and learning programs, embodied by a series of community activities such as talks, day camp, thematic activities and horticulture class. Baseline (before the programs) and follow-up (one year after the programs) surveys were conducted both in the intervention and control estate to assess the impact of the programs on neighborhood cohesion. Results: The number of residents who completed both the baseline and follow-up surveys was 502 in the intervention estate and 476 in the control estate. Neighborhood cohesion significantly improved in the intervention group after the programs (Cohen effect size d: 0.15). Compared with the control group, the improvements in closeness of the neighborhood and trust in neighbors were significantly greater in the intervention group (Cohen effect size d: 0.13 and 0.14, respectively). Conclusion: This brief intervention program using a quasi-experimental study design increased neighborhood cohesion in a low rent housing estate. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02851667

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0182722
JournalPloS one
Volume12
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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