Neighborhood effects on the self-rated health of older adults from four racial/ethnic groups

Jung Eun Ko, Yuri Jang, Nan Sook Park, Sung Han Rhew, David A Chiriboga
Social Work in Public Health 2014, 29 (2): 89-99
Building upon the sizable literature on individual-level predictors of self-rated health, this study examined the impact of neighborhood characteristics, using older adult samples of four racial/ethnic groups. The considered neighborhood characteristics include (a) the proportion of individuals age 65 and older, (b) the proportion of individuals below poverty, and (c) the proportion of individuals from the same racial/ethnic background in the Census-block group. The samples were drawn from the 2004-2005 Survey of Older Floridians, which includes Whites (n = 488), Blacks (n = 345), Cubans (n = 319), and non-Cuban Latinos (n = 230). Using the reported residential address, each participant was linked to the 2000 Census at block-group level to retrieve the above-mentioned neighborhood characteristics. Multilevel analysis of self-rated health was estimated for each racial/ethnic group, considering individual-level variables (e.g., age, gender, marital status, education, financial strain, and chronic conditions) and each of the neighborhood characteristics. Regardless of racial/ethnic groups, those living in the neighborhood with a higher proportion of residents below poverty were likely to report poorer health. The proportion of older adults in the neighborhood was significant only in Cubans, and the proportion of residents with the same ethnic background was only in Whites. The findings show the overall importance of neighborhood context in the health of older adults and indicate different implications of neighborhood characteristics for diverse racial/ethnic groups.


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