Functional limitations and gender differences: Neighborhood effects

Maureen Wilson-Genderson, Rachel Pruchno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Rates of functional limitations are consistently higher for women than for men, but it is not clear why. While some studies have examined individual risk factors, others have turned to broader social characteristics. We examined the effects of both individual and neighborhood characteristics associated with the functional limitations of older men and women. Multilevel structural equation models were developed using data from a random digit dial sample of 5,688 adults aged 50 to 74 years living in New Jersey. We found that greater numbers of fast-food restaurants, storefronts, and supermarkets was associated with more functional limitations of women, while greater numbers of fast-food restaurants was the only neighborhood characteristic associated with more functional limitations of men. Functional limitations of women, but not men, are affected by multiple neighborhood characteristics. This research reveals that specific neighborhood contextual characteristics, not just poverty, are associated with the health of community-dwelling adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-100
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aging
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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