Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status and Within-Individual Variation in Functional Health

TitleNeighborhood Socioeconomic Status and Within-Individual Variation in Functional Health
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsMorris, KAnn
Conference NamePopulation Association of America 2017
KeywordsDisability, functional health, socioeconomic status

Neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage is a key risk factor for disability, but research on this association is contradictory and limited by cross-sectional analyses and an inattention to within-individual variation in disability. I draw individual-level data from Waves 4 through 10 of the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally-representative sample of community-dwelling older adults, and neighborhood socioeconomic data from the 2000 U.S. Decennial Census. Using multilevel linear growth curve models, I find baseline neighborhood disadvantage is associated with a higher rate of disablement over time, but is weakly associated with a higher initial level of disability. I also find that residents of disadvantaged neighborhoods have larger level-1 residual variance across time, suggesting they have greater temporal fluctuation in their level of disability. These findings reiterate the importance of longitudinal perspectives of disablement and underscore research on physical and social instability within disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Citation Key10801