Assessing the Social Bonds of Elderly Neighbors: The Roles of Length of Residence, Crime Victimization, and Perceived Disorder

Hunter College-CUNY, USA
Sociological Inquiry (Impact Factor: 0.79). 10/2003; 73(4):490 - 510. DOI: 10.1111/1475-682X.00068


Starting from the rationale that elderly urban residents tend to be “neighborhood-bound,” this study examines the relationship between age or aging and local social bonds (friendship, social cohesion and trust, informal social control, and participation in local organizations). Specifically, is the level of local bonding among elderly urban residents (age 65 and over) greater than that of the younger cohorts (17–35, 34–49, and 50–64)? Additionally, two specific hypotheses are constructed to examine the determinants of local social bonds among elderly urban residents: the systemic approach, regarding length of residence; and the social-disorganization approach, regarding crime victimization and perceived disorder. Using Chicago data collected in 1995, the analysis found a substantial difference between the elderly cohort and each of the younger cohorts in only the friendship category of local social bonds. The other results show that in a sample of elderly urban residents, length of residence is the only significant, positive factor in local friendship, and that the two disorder predictors, physical and social, play a substantial role in weakening two types of local social bonds, social cohesion and trust and informal social control.

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Available from: Joong-Hwan Oh, Nov 16, 2014
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    • "The present study blends the social theoretical work on status hierarchies in local frame - works ( Berger , Ridgeway , & Zelditch , 2002 ) and the empirical work examining health gradients at different levels of social organization ( Marmot , 2004 ) to examine one type of local social hierarchy , neigh - borhood , to determine whether an older adult ' s relative social status in this level of social organization is associated with mental health . Neighborhood is an ideal social group for exploring conse - quences of relative social position at older ages because adults of this age group are likely to spend more time near their homes , know more of their neighbors relative to younger persons , and invest in active neighboring ( Oh , 2003 ; Scharf et al . , 2003 ) . "
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    ABSTRACT: Despite a well-established association between relative social position and health, stratification at smaller levels of social organization has received scant attention. Neighborhood is a localized context that has increasing relevance for adults as they age, thus one's relative position within this type of mesolevel group may have an effect on mental health, independent of absolute level of social and economic resources. We examine the relationship between an older adult's relative rank within their neighborhoods on two criteria and depressive symptoms. Using data from the Chicago Health and Aging Project, neighborhood relative social position was ascertained for two social domains: income and social reputation (number of neighbors one knows well enough to visit). Using multilevel models, we estimated the effect of relative position within the neighborhood on depressive symptoms, net of absolute level for each domain and average neighborhood level. Higher neighborhood relative rankings on both income and visiting neighbors were associated with fewer depressive symptoms. Although both were modest in effect, the gradient in depressive symptoms was three times steeper for the relative rank of visiting neighbors than for income. Men had steeper gradients than women in both domains, but no race differences were observed. These findings suggest that an older adult's relative position in a local social hierarchy is associated with his/her mental health, net of absolute position. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · The Journals of Gerontology Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
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    • "Older people, in general, have fewer social support networks due to changes in their life cycle stage (e.g. retirement), or age-related losses and critical events (e.g., death of partner) (e.g., Oh, 2003; Tang and Lee, 2011). However, loneliness and social isolation occur among all age groups. "
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    ABSTRACT: The ageing of the population raises questions regarding the quality of life of future generations. This paper focuses specifically on feelings of loneliness as an important aspect of quality of life in relation with mobility aspects and built environmental characteristics. Based on data collected in the southeast of the Netherlands among 344 respondents in 2014 four ordered logit models were estimated to explain the extent to which people feel lonely or socially isolated. The explanatory variables in the models are age; other personal and household characteristics; characteristics of the built environment and mobility aspects. The results indicate that, although age has little explanatory power, older people are likely to feel lonelier. Other personal and household characteristics, such as household composition, education, health status, being a volunteer and the number of social interactions are found to have more explanatory power. Characteristics of the built environment also explain a substantial part of variance in loneliness. Significant effects are found for living in an apartment, length of residence in the neighbourhood and satisfaction with the neighbourhood and its facilities. Finally, we find that the use of different transport modes (bicycle, car and public transport) significantly reduces loneliness.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015
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    • "One study predicted social ties in the neighborhood (Oh, 2003) and another predicted neighborhood social support (Ferguson & Mindel, 2007). Findings show that length of residency, male gender, and being married are all related to more social ties, and that age, education, and employment are all related to fewer social ties (Oh, 2003). Findings also show that age predicts higher social support and that there is a relationship between race and ethnicity and social support (Ferguson & Mindel, 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: There is a growing, multidisciplinary body of evidence on the effects that neighborhoods have on family outcomes. This evidence is important for social workers as we work with clients and communities from a person-in-environment perspective. In this article the authors present findings from a systematic, integrative review of neighborhood effects specifically for crime and safety. Thirty-seven research studies using random samples from urban, U.S. areas between 2002 and 2008 are reviewed. Findings suggest socio-demographic characteristics of neighborhoods and neighborhood processes are both predictive of crime and safety. Further, some neighborhood conditions may affect crime and safety in unexpected ways. Implications for social work practice, neighborhood interventions, and evidence-based practice are discussed.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2012 · Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work
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