Neighborhood-level cohesion and disorder: Measurement and validation in two older adult urban populations

Kathleen A. Cagney, Thomas A Glass, Kimberly A. Skarupski, Lisa L. Barnes, Brian S. Schwartz, Carlos F. Mendes De Leon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives Drawing from collective efficacy and social disorganization theories, we developed and validated measures of neighborhood-level social processes.Methods Data came from 2 large, population-based cohort studies of urban-dwelling older adults, the Chicago Neighborhood and Disability Study (CNDS, n = 3,882) and the Baltimore Memory Study (BMS, n = 1,140). Data on neighborhood social processes were collected from residents using a standardized instrument identical in the 2 studies. We used confirmatory factor analysis and descriptive statistics to explore reliability and validity of the neighborhood-level measures.Results Confirmatory factor analysis indicated 2 latent factors: social cohesion and exchange (i.e., observations of and interactions with neighbors) and social and physical disorder (i.e., neighborhood problems and unsafe conditions). Neighborhood-level measures of cohesion and disorder showed moderate to high levels of internal consistency (alphas =.78 and.85 in CNDS and.60 and.88 in BMS). Inter-resident agreements were low (intra-neighborhood correlation coefficients =.08 and.11 in CNDS and.05 and.33 in BMS). Cohesion showed a modest, positive association with a composite measure of neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES). Disorder showed a strong, negative association with neighborhood SES.Conclusions Findings provide initial evidence of the reliability and construct validity of these neighborhood-level social process measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-424
Number of pages10
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume64
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2009

Keywords

  • Collective efficacy
  • Neighborhood social context
  • Social capital
  • Social disorganization theory
  • Socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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