Change and stability in ethnic diversity across urban communities: Explicating the influence of social cohesion on perceptions of disorder

Renee Zahnow, Rebecca Wickes, Michele Haynes, Lorraine Mazerolle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


A growing body of research shows that perceived community disorder is not solely driven by crime, but is influenced by the community's social cohesion and ethnic composition. Drawing on two waves of survey data from 2509 and 2651 individuals in Wave 1 and Wave 2 respectively, living in 71 communities in Brisbane Australia, we examine changes in ethnic composition over two time periods and how these changes influence perceived neighbourhood disorder. We also test whether or not social cohesion mediates these associations. Our findings indicate that high proportions of Indigenous residents and high levels of reported crime averaged across time are associated with greater perceived disorder. Whereas increases in household income over time are associated with lower perceived disorder. We also find that social cohesion is strongly associated with perceived disorder over time, but does not mediate the relationship between the racial and ethnic composition of the community and disorder. Yet when a community's social cohesion is considered, the effect of increasing household income becomes non-significant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-356
Number of pages22
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • disadvantage
  • disorder
  • ethnic diversity
  • social cohesion

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