Activity Space Exposures and Adult Health: Dimensions of Community Social Organization as Underlying Mechanisms

Gregory Sharp , University at Buffalo, State University of New York (SUNY)

A growing body of research documents the importance of including activity spaces—the multiple contexts to which individuals are exposed on a daily basis—in neighborhoods and health studies. What is lacking in this recent work, however, is an investigation of the contextual mechanisms that contribute to residential and activity space exposure effects on health. This paper uses unique longitudinal data from the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey to examine whether and how contextual exposures—both inside and outside the residential neighborhood—affect self-rated health, with a particular focus on the role of community social organization mechanisms. Results indicate that residential disadvantage and ethnoracial composition increase the probability of reporting poor/fair health, while activity space exposures confound residential health effects. Neighborhood social cohesion, social capital organizations, and adults’ local fear and isolation directly influence health, as well as interact with activity space exposures to shape self-rated health.

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 Presented in Session 72. Mobility, Activity Space Exposures, and Inequality