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Neighborhoods and disability in later life

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Author Info

  • Freedman, Vicki A.
  • Grafova, Irina B.
  • Schoeni, Robert F.
  • Rogowski, Jeannette

Abstract

This paper uses the US Health and Retirement Study to explore linkages between neighborhood conditions and stages of the disablement process among adults aged 55 years and older in the United States. We consider multiple dimensions of the neighborhood including the built environment as well as social and economic conditions. In doing so, we use factor analysis to reduce indicators into eight neighborhood scales, which we incorporate into two-level logistic regression models along with controls for individual-level factors. We find evidence that economic conditions and the built environment, but not social conditions, matter. Neighborhood economic advantage is associated with a reduced risk of lower body limitations for both men and women. We also find for men that neighborhood economic disadvantage is linked to increased chances of reporting personal care limitations, particularly for those aged 55-64 years, and that high connectivity of the built environment is associated with reduced risk of limitations in instrumental activities. Our findings highlight the distinctive benefits of neighborhood economic advantage early in the disablement process. In addition, findings underscore the need for attention in the design and evaluation of disability-prevention efforts to the benefits that accrue from more physically connected communities and to the potential harm that may arise in later life from living in economically disadvantaged areas.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

Volume (Year): 66 (2008)
Issue (Month): 11 (June)
Pages: 2253-2267

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Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:66:y:2008:i:11:p:2253-2267

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Related research

Keywords: Neighborhoods Disability Aging USA;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. DUJARDIN, Claire & lorant, VINCENT & THOMAS, Isabelle, 2013. "Self-assessed health of elderly people in Brussels: does the built environment matter?," CORE Discussion Papers 2013048, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Clarke, Philippa & Ailshire, Jennifer A. & Lantz, Paula, 2009. "Urban built environments and trajectories of mobility disability: Findings from a national sample of community-dwelling American adults (1986-2001)," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(6), pages 964-970, September.
  3. Brenda Gannon & Kieran Walsh, 2011. "Perceived Neighbourhood Context, Disability Onset and Old Age," Working Papers 1105, Academic Unit of Health Economics, Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, University of Leeds.
  4. Grafova, Irina B. & Freedman, Vicki A. & Lurie, Nicole & Kumar, Rizie & Rogowski, Jeannette, 2014. "The difference-in-difference method: Assessing the selection bias in the effects of neighborhood environment on health," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 20-33.
  5. Rosenthal, Larry A., 2009. "Local Land-Use Controls and Aging-Friendliness," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt8r15z60d, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
  6. Botticello, Amanda L. & Chen, Yuying & Tulsky, David S., 2012. "Geographic variation in participation for physically disabled adults: The contribution of area economic factors to employment after spinal cord injury," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(8), pages 1505-1513.
  7. Laraia, Barbara A. & Karter, Andrew J. & Warton, E. Margaret & Schillinger, Dean & Moffet, Howard H. & Adler, Nancy, 2012. "Place matters: Neighborhood deprivation and cardiometabolic risk factors in the Diabetes Study of Northern California (DISTANCE)," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(7), pages 1082-1090.
  8. Ryvicker, Miriam & Gallo, William T. & Fahs, Marianne C., 2012. "Environmental factors associated with primary care access among urban older adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(5), pages 914-921.

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