Perceived neighborhood characteristics and wellbeing: Exploring mediational pathways

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Abstract

The present study evaluated possible mediators of the association between perceived neighborhood characteristics and wellbeing. Both objective: social participation, community engagement, and number of chronic conditions and subjective: loneliness, perceived discrimination, and subjective health indicators were examined as possible mediators. The health and retirement study is a longitudinal panel survey consisting of a representative sample of US citizens over the age of 50. Analysis was based on data collected in 2010, 2014, and 2018. A total of 5590–5851 participants were included in the analyses. Path models were conducted to examine mediation, using 5000 bootstraps. Even after controlling for sociodemographic variables, there was a significant association between perceived neighborhood characteristics measured in 2010 and wellbeing measured in 2018. This association was partially mediated by loneliness, perceived discrimination, and subjective health measured in 2014, but not by community engagement, social participation, and number of chronic conditions. In a sensitivity analysis, some of the objective indicators partially accounted for the relationship between perceived neighborhood characteristics and the subjective indicators. The findings point to the importance of subjective mediators, rather than objective ones in explaining the association between perceived neighborhood characteristics and wellbeing. Hence, they call for further attention to the subjective characteristics of the neighborhood as important to older persons’ wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102020
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Volume88
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Mental health
  • Neighborhood cohesion
  • Neighborhood disorder
  • Objective
  • Subjective
  • Wellbeing

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