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Subjective and objective neighborhood characteristics and adult health


  • Weden, Margaret M.
  • Carpiano, Richard M.
  • Robert, Stephanie A.


This study examines both objective and subjective assessments of neighborhood conditions, exploring the overlap between different sources of information on neighborhoods and the relative strength of their association with adult self-rated health. Data on perceived neighborhood quality from Wave IV (2001/2002) of the nationally representative U.S. Americans Changing Lives study are merged with neighborhood-level census tract data to measure subjective and objective neighborhood constructs. Structural equation models indicate that subjective and objective constructs are both related to health. However, the subjective construct (perceived neighborhood quality) is most strongly associated with health and mediates associations between health and the objective constructs (neighborhood disadvantage and affluence). Additionally, individual characteristics play an important role in shaping the contribution of neighborhood conditions through selection and mediation. Our results demonstrate the independent associations between both objective and perceived neighborhood quality and health, and highlight the particularly strong association between perceived neighborhood quality and health.

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  • Weden, Margaret M. & Carpiano, Richard M. & Robert, Stephanie A., 2008. "Subjective and objective neighborhood characteristics and adult health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(6), pages 1256-1270, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:66:y:2008:i:6:p:1256-1270

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jae Seung Lee & Sungjin Park & Sanghoon Jung, 2016. "Effect of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) Measures on Active Living and Fear of Crime," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(9), pages 1-16, August.
    2. Oshio, Takashi & Urakawa, Kunio, 2013. "The association between perceived income inequality and subjective well-being: Evidence from a social survey in Japan," CIS Discussion paper series 579, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    3. Root, Elisabeth D. & Meyer, Robert E. & Emch, Michael, 2011. "Socioeconomic context and gastroschisis: Exploring associations at various geographic scales," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(4), pages 625-633, February.
    4. Mahmood, Atiya & Chaudhury, Habib & Michael, Yvonne L. & Campo, Michael & Hay, Kara & Sarte, Ann, 2012. "A photovoice documentation of the role of neighborhood physical and social environments in older adults’ physical activity in two metropolitan areas in North America," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(8), pages 1180-1192.
    5. Scott, Stacey B. & Munoz, Elizabeth & Mogle, Jacqueline A. & Gamaldo, Alyssa A. & Smyth, Joshua M. & Almeida, David M. & Sliwinski, Martin J., 2018. "Perceived neighborhood characteristics predict severity and emotional response to daily stressors," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 200(C), pages 262-270.
    6. Wilson-Genderson, Maureen & Pruchno, Rachel, 2013. "Effects of neighborhood violence and perceptions of neighborhood safety on depressive symptoms of older adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 43-49.
    7. Caspi, Caitlin E. & Kawachi, Ichiro & Subramanian, S.V. & Tucker-Seeley, Reginald & Sorensen, Glorian, 2013. "The social environment and walking behavior among low-income housing residents," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 76-84.
    8. Danan Gu & Haiyan Zhu & Ming Wen, 2015. "Neighborhood-health links: Differences between rural-to-urban migrants and natives in Shanghai," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 33(17), pages 499-524.
    9. Masood Gheasi & Noriko Ishikawa & Karima Kourtit & Peter Nijkamp, 2019. "A meta-analysis of human health differences in urban and rural environments," Letters in Spatial and Resource Sciences, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 167-186, December.
    10. Meffert, Susan M. & McCulloch, Charles E. & Neylan, Thomas C. & Gandhi, Monica & Lund, Crick, 2015. "Increase of perceived frequency of neighborhood domestic violence is associated with increase of women's depression symptoms in a nationally representative longitudinal study in South Africa," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 89-97.
    11. Chaudhury, Habib & Campo, Michael & Michael, Yvonne & Mahmood, Atiya, 2016. "Neighbourhood environment and physical activity in older adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 104-113.
    12. Benjamin Aretz & Gabriele Doblhammer & Fanny Janssen, 2018. "Effects of Changes in Living Environment on Physical Health: A Prospective Cohort Study of Movers and Non-Movers in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 997, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    13. Eva Anna Christina Hart & Jeroen Lakerveld & Martin McKee & Jean-Michel Oppert & Harry Rutter & Hélène Charreire & Ruut Veenhoven & Helga Bárdos & Sofie Compernolle & Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij & Johannes , 2018. "Contextual correlates of happiness in European adults," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 13(1), pages 1-17, January.
    14. Samuel, Laura J. & Glass, Thomas A. & Thorpe, Roland J. & Szanton, Sarah L. & Roth, David L., 2015. "Household and neighborhood conditions partially account for associations between education and physical capacity in the National Health and Aging Trends Study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 67-75.
    15. Lane, Anna P. & Hou, Yuting & Hooi Wong, Chek & Yuen, Belinda, 2020. "Cross-sectional associations of neighborhood third places with social health among community-dwelling older adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 258(C).
    16. Verhaeghe, Pieter-Paul & Tampubolon, Gindo, 2012. "Individual social capital, neighbourhood deprivation, and self-rated health in England," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 349-357.
    17. Verma, Meghna & Rahul, T.M. & Vinayak, Pragun & Verma, Ashish, 2018. "Influence of childhood and adulthood attitudinal perceptions on bicycle usage in the Bangalore city," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 94-105.
    18. 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.
    19. Liang Ma & Jennifer Dill & Cynthia Mohr, 2014. "The objective versus the perceived environment: what matters for bicycling?," Transportation, Springer, vol. 41(6), pages 1135-1152, November.
    20. Robert F. Valois & Jelani C. Kerr & Michael P. Carey & Larry K. Brown & Daniel Romer & Ralph J. DiClemente & Peter A. Vanable, 2020. "Neighborhood Stress and Life Satisfaction: Is there a Relationship for African American Adolescents?," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 15(1), pages 273-296, March.
    21. Petteway, Ryan J. & Mujahid, Mahasin & Allen, Amani & Morello-Frosch, Rachel, 2019. "The body language of place: A new method for mapping intergenerational “geographies of embodiment” in place-health research," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 223(C), pages 51-63.
    22. Hystad, Perry & Carpiano, Richard M. & Demers, Paul A. & Johnson, Kenneth C. & Brauer, Michael, 2013. "Neighbourhood socioeconomic status and individual lung cancer risk: Evaluating long-term exposure measures and mediating mechanisms," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 95-103.
    23. Carpiano, Richard M. & Lloyd, Jennifer E.V. & Hertzman, Clyde, 2009. "Concentrated affluence, concentrated disadvantage, and children's readiness for school: A population-based, multi-level investigation," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 420-432, August.
    24. Li, Mengying & Johnson, Sara B. & Musci, Rashelle J. & Riley, Anne W., 2017. "Perceived neighborhood quality, family processes, and trajectories of child and adolescent externalizing behaviors in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 192(C), pages 152-161.
    25. Takashi Oshio & Kunio Urakawa, 2014. "The Association Between Perceived Income Inequality and Subjective Well-being: Evidence from a Social Survey in Japan," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 116(3), pages 755-770, May.


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