The texture of neighborhoods and disability among older adults

Rachel A. Pruchno, Maureen Wilson-Genderson, Francine P. Cartwright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Objectives.To present and test an ecological multidimensional model of neighborhood characteristics and examine its relationship to older disability among older adults.Method.Indicators of social vulnerability, wealth, violence, storefronts, residential stability, and the presence of physicians, supermarkets, and fast-food establishments for 1,644 of New Jersey's census tracts were derived from sources that include the U.S. Census 2000, Uniform Crime Report for New Jersey, New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Marketing and Development, New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety Division of Alcohol Beverage Control, and Health Resources and Services Administration Geospatial Data Warehouse. Confirmatory factor analyses were used to develop and test a measurement model of neighborhood texture. Structural equation modeling examined the relationships between neighborhood characteristics and disability of persons aged 65-69 years.Results.Analyses revealed that distinct dimensions of neighborhoods could be modeled with administrative data and that neighborhood contextual (supermarkets, physicians, storefronts, violence) and compositional (social vulnerability, wealth, residential stability) characteristics were related to the prevalence of disability.Discussion.The use of multiple indicators of neighborhood with good psychometric qualities is critical for advancing knowledge about the mechanisms by which neighborhood characteristics are associated with the health of older people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-98
Number of pages10
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume67 B
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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