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Vicki Freedman photo

Neighborhoods and Disability in Later Life

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionFreedman, Vicki, Irina B. Grafova, Robert F. Schoeni, and Jeannette Rogowski. 2007. "Neighborhoods and Disability in Later Life." PSC Research Report No. 07-622. May 2007.

This paper uses the Health and Retirement Study to explore linkages between neighborhood features and stages of the disablement process among adults ages 55 and older in the United States. We consider multiple dimensions of the neighborhood environment including environmental stressors; safety, mobility and access to services; and social and economic conditions. In doing so, we use factor analysis to reduce indicators into 8 neighborhood scales, which we incorporate into two-level logistic regression models. Findings suggest that economic advantage matters earlier in the disablement process and economic disadvantage is linked to later stages. There also appear to be important differences by gender, with street connectivity and economic disadvantage associated with outcomes only for men. Although most neighborhood effects are relatively small in absolute terms, neighborhood economic advantage effects appear sizeable.

PMCID: PMC2478756. (Pub Med Central)

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