Neighborhood Social Processes and Older Adult Well-Being: New Results from the Neighborhood Organization, Aging, and Health Study (NOAH)
Kathleen A. Cagney, University of Chicago
Christopher Browning, Ohio State University
Neighborhood social processes are typically theorized and assessed with a population of young families in mind. We began a data collection effort, the Neighborhood Organization, Aging and Health Project (NOAH), to examine the role of neighborhood context in older adults’ lives. We created a set of measures which tap the potentially unique dimensions of trust and community connectedness relevant for older persons. We developed and validated: 1) older adult collective efficacy (i.e., social cohesion and informal social control) and; 2) public space viability (i.e., eyes on the street and outdoor surveillance). We used NOAH, a survey of adults 65+ in 80 Chicago neighborhoods (N=1500), and the decennial census. We developed scales using multi-level item response theory and examined their impact using HLM. Preliminary findings suggest a positive and robust association between older adult collective efficacy and health. Public space viability is important to a more general measure of functional status.