Neighborhood Social Cohesion and Loneliness in Mid- and Later Life: Are Benefits Contingent on Race/Ethnicity or Neighborhood Disorder?

TitleNeighborhood Social Cohesion and Loneliness in Mid- and Later Life: Are Benefits Contingent on Race/Ethnicity or Neighborhood Disorder?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsMassihzadegan, S, Stokes, JE
JournalJ Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
ISSN Number1758-5368
KeywordsLoneliness
Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Connections between social integration and health throughout the lifespan are well-established, including at the neighborhood level and among older adults. Less explored is how pathways between neighborhood social cohesion and well-being may differ by race/ethnicity or by neighborhood disorder. This study investigates whether perceived neighborhood social cohesion is associated with loneliness in adults aged 50 and older, and whether this association is moderated by race/ethnicity or perceived neighborhood disorder.

METHODS: We used pooled cross-sectional data from the 2016 and 2018 waves of the Health and Retirement Study and respondents to the Leave-behind Questionnaire age 50 and older, living in the community (N=10,713). Data were analyzed using multivariate OLS regression.

RESULTS: Perceived social cohesion was negatively associated with loneliness (B= -0.13, p < .001); however, this effect was strongest among White respondents, and significantly weaker for respondents who were Black (B= 0.02, p < .05), Hispanic (B= 0.03, p < .05), or of another race/ethnicity (B= 0.03, p < .05). Further, neighborhood disorder moderated the association between social cohesion and loneliness (B= 0.02, p < .001), reducing the strength of relationship for those in areas of high disorder. Inclusion of this interaction also attenuated the interaction between neighborhood cohesion and race for Black older adults.

DISCUSSION: Findings show that neighborhood social cohesion matters for midlife and older adults' loneliness, but that this relationship varies by race/ethnicity and neighborhood disorder. As such, neighborhood racial/ethnic makeup and both social and objective neighborhood characteristics should be considered when designing interventions to reduce loneliness.

DOI10.1093/geronb/gbad081
Citation Key13294
PubMed ID37218292