Are disputes between neighbors the link between access to justice and heart disease?
Heart diseases are the single biggest killer in the developed world. Many factors (life style, diet, genes, race/ethnicity, gender etc.) contribute to it. A bit surprisingly the quality of the neighborhood could play a role. A recently published study by the University of Michingan finds that higher perceived neighborhood social cohesion is associated with a lower risk of heart disease (myocardial infarction).
“Neighborhood social cohesion is the perceived degree of connectedness between and among neighbours and their willingness to intervene for the common good.”
The longitudinal study of a panel of 5276 US adults over the age of 50 who had no history of heart decease found an association between perceived neighborhood social cohesion and risk of myocardial infraction. The correlation is negative, meaning that higher neighborhood cohesion is associated with lower chance of heart disease. Each standard degree of perceived neighborhood social cohesion was associated with a 22% reduced odds of myocardial infraction. This relationship remained significant even after the researchers controlled for behavioral, biological and psychological covariates.
Consistently, research on justice needs in both industrialized and developing nations find that disputes between neighbors are among the most frequently occurring legal problems in daily life. Neighborhood disputes together with consumer problems are the archetypal ‘low value – high volume’ types of problems with possible legal solution. Very few dispute resolution mechanisms, however, are accessible for those who are embroiled in disagreements over noise, garbage, pets, parking, communal infrastructure etc.
Other research claim that unresolved disputes in the neighborhoods, incidence of violence and drug use are very strong predictors of neighborhood decay. From here one can hypothesize a reverse relationship between access to justice for neighborhood disputes and heart disease. Unfortunately rarely the focus of the policy makers and access to justice advocates is directed to the seemingly minor and not serious disputes between neighbors. In Buddhism it is stated that minor incidences of violence accumulate relentlessly and multiply on a social level and become a source of a major violence that can surge upon us so suddenly. This is why people need access to justice to resolve their problems and disagreements in a fair manner.
Entry filed under: Access to Justice.