Associations among Neighborhood Characteristics, Mobility Limitation, and Social Participation in Late Life

Carri L. Hand, Bret T. Howrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objectives Although emerging research suggests neighborhood characteristics can support and restrict social participation in older adults, further research regarding a wider range of neighborhood characteristics and interactions between individual and neighborhood characteristics is needed. This study explored associations between neighborhood characteristics and frequency of participation in three social activities among older adults and interactions between neighborhood characteristics and mobility limitation as they relate to participation. Method Data from the 2008 wave of the Health and Retirement Study linked with American Community Survey data were used. Participants included community-dwelling adults aged 65 years or older. Analysis involved multivariate logistic regression. Results High proportion of neighborhood residents aged 65 and older was associated with increased odds of more frequent participation in all three activities. High population density was associated with increased odds of club attendance. High neighborhood social cohesion was associated with increased odds of attending nonreligious meetings. Interactions between walking limitation and population density or social cohesion related to increased odds of participation. Discussion Findings suggest that improving older adults' ability to participate in community life and age in place requires strategies that consider how neighborhood and individual characteristics interact and how these characteristics may differentially affect types of participation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)546-555
Number of pages10
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 15 2019


  • Human activities
  • Population demographics
  • Social environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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