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Assessing the psychometric and ecometric properties of neighborhood scales in developing countries: Saúde em Beagá study, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 2008-2009

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Friche, Amelia Augusta de Lima, Ana Diez Roux, Cibele Comini Cesar, Cesar Coelho Xavier, Fernando Augusto Proietti, and Waleska Teixeira Caiaffa. 2013. "Assessing the psychometric and ecometric properties of neighborhood scales in developing countries: Saúde em Beagá study, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 2008-2009." Journal of Urban Health, 90(2): 246-261.

Although specific measurement instruments are necessary to better understand the relationship between features of neighborhoods and health, very few studies have developed instruments to measure neighborhood features in developing countries. The objective of the study was to develop valid and reliable measures of neighborhood context useful in a Latin American urban context, assess their psychometric and ecometric properties, and examine individual and neighborhood-level predictors of these measures. We analyzed data from a multistage household survey (2008-2009) conducted in Belo Horizonte City by the Observatory for Urban Health. One adult in each household was selected to answer a questionnaire that included scales to measure neighborhood domains. Census tracts were used to proxy neighborhoods. Internal consistency was evaluated by Cronbach's alpha, and multilevel models were used to estimate ecometric properties and to estimate associations of neighborhood measures with socioeconomic indicators. The final sample comprised 4048 survey respondents representing 149 census tracts. We assessed ten neighborhood environment dimensions: public services, aesthetic quality, walking environment, safety, violence, social cohesion, neighborhood participation, neighborhood physical disorder, neighborhood social disorder, and neighborhood problems. Cronbach's alpha coefficients ranged from 0.53 to 0.83; intraneighborhood correlations ranged from 0.02 to 0.53, and neighborhood reliability varied from 0.76 to 0.99. Most scales were associated with individual and neighborhood socioeconomic predictors. Questionnaires can be used to reliably measure neighborhood contexts in developing countries.

DOI:10.1007/s11524-012-9737-z (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC3675718. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: Brazil.

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