Cumulative Exposure to Neighborhood Context: Consequences for Health Transitions Over the Adult Life Course

Philippa Clarke, Jeffrey Morenoff, Michelle Debbink, Ezra Golberstein, Michael R. Elliott, Paula M. Lantz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations

Abstract

Over the last two decades, research has assessed the relationship between neighborhood socioeconomic factors and individual health. However, existing research is based almost exclusively on cross-sectional data, ignoring the complexity in health transitions that may be shaped by long-term residential exposures. We address these limitations by specifying distinct health transitions over multiple waves of a 15-year study of American adults. We focus on transitions between a hierarchy of health states, (free from health problems, onset of health problems, and death), not just gradients in a single health indicator over time, and use a cumulative measure of exposure to neighborhoods over adulthood. We find that cumulative exposure to neighborhood disadvantage has significant effects on functional decline and mortality. Research ignoring a persons' history of exposure to residential contexts over the life course runs the risk of underestimating the role of neighborhood disadvantage on health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-142
Number of pages28
JournalResearch on Aging
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by National Institute on Aging grant R01AG018418.

Keywords

  • functional health
  • life course
  • mortality
  • neighborhood effects
  • panel data
  • socioeconomic status

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