The Influence of Childhood SES on Perceived Neighborhood Cohesion and Levels of Physical Activity Among Older Adults

Cassandra Hua , Miami University of Ohio

Older adults who reside in cohesive neighborhoods are more likely to be physically active; however, no research has considered whether individuals who live in these neighborhoods are more likely to do so due to childhood poverty. I utilized a sample of 8637 individuals from the Health and Retirement Study. Using a structural equation modelling approach, I examined whether neighborhood social cohesion mediates the relationship between childhood SES and later life physical activity. I also examined differences by gender and race. Neighborhood social cohesion was significantly and negatively associated with childhood SES. There was a significant indirect effect between childhood poverty and physical activity. Furthermore, there were significant indirect effects through current levels of education and wealth. Future studies of the relationship between neighborhood social cohesion and health behaviors and outcomes among older adults should control for the influence of childhood SES. Differential selection into neighborhoods may play a role.

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 Presented in Session 5. Health & Mortality 1