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Musa, Donald (2005) NEIGHBORHOOD ENVIRONMENT AND THE FUNCTIONAL HEALTH OF OLDER ADULTS. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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With the growing number of older adults and, therefore, the increasing importance of disability as a public health outcome, it is important to better understand the causes and correlates of functional decline and disability in the elderly. Traditionally, most research on disability has focused on individual risk factors. However, a growing body of research is finding evidence of the role of the social and physical environment in health outcomes generally. But to date, limited research has examined the neighborhood environment as a causal factor in disability among older adults. This dissertation examines the influence of the socioeconomic and social characteristics of neighborhoods and municipalities in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania on individual functional status prevalence and change among a sample of adults 65 and older in the County. The research suggests that some effects of neighborhood social environments on functional status may be present, but are weak relative to individual risk factors. Neighborhood effects were not found for disability prevalence in this sample, but were found for change in function over a period of 20 months. The analysis indicates that neighborhoods with higher rates of serious crime are associated with declines in function. Also, neighborhoods with more concentrated social and economic disadvantages as well as those with more concentrated affluence were both associated with some improvement in function. The association of disadvantage with improvement in function requires further clarification. The analysis suggests that more sensitive measures of disability and function may be required to detect neighborhood effects. This type of research is of great public health relevance because it has the potential to suggest and inform a range of new community-based public health interventions to improve the functional health of the elderly.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Musa, Donalddmuc@pitt.eduDMUC
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTrauth, Jeanettetrauth@pitt.eduTRAUTH
Committee MemberMarx, Johnjmarx@pitt.eduJMARX
Committee MemberSilverman, Myrnawoman@pitt.eduWOMAN
Committee MemberSharma, Ravirks1946@pitt.eduRKS1946
Date: 9 June 2005
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 7 April 2005
Approval Date: 9 June 2005
Submission Date: 15 April 2005
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: DrPH - Doctor of Public Health
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: disability; elderly; functional impairment; neighborhood social environment; Older adults
Other ID:, etd-04152005-170637
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:37
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:40


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