Neighborhoods of Residence and Disability in Later Life: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study
Vicki A. Freedman, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
Irina Grafova, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
Jeannette Rogowski, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
This paper uses the Health and Retirement Study to explore linkages between neighborhood features and disability among adults ages 55 and older. We consider multiple dimensions of the neighborhood environment including stressors; safety, mobility and access to healthcare services; and social and economic status. In doing so, we use factor analysis to reduce indicators into 9 neighborhood scales, which we incorporate into two-level logistic models. Preliminary findings suggest that stressors such as air pollution may exert their influence throughout the disablement process. In contrast, economic effects appear to be more complex, with economic advantage mattering earlier in the disablement process and economic disadvantage linked to later stages. There also appear to be important differences by gender, with men more susceptible to the built environment and economic disadvantage and women more vulnerable to social dimensions. Although most neighborhood effects are relatively small in absolute terms, neighborhood economic advantage effects appear sizeable.
Presented in Poster Session 4