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WHAT IS A “NEIGHBORHOOD”? DEFINITION IN STUDIES ABOUT DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS IN OLDER PERSONS

C. Siordia, J. Saenz

J Frailty Aging 2013;2(3):153-164

The almost irrefutable hypothesis that place matters continues to grow in popularity. Epidemiological and public health researchers are studying social and physical environment’s effect on individual health outcomes. Advances in the field are hindered by the lack of consistency in measuring and labeling social contexts. Greater definitional precision is required. In order to give an example of this, “neighborhood” studies between 2000 and 2012 dealing with depression symptomatology in older adults were identified with an exhaustive search. Only those where the terms neighborhood, and mental health, or mental well-being, or CES-D appear were included for the initial review. After additionally selecting for age and the presence of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) measure, from an initial 98 articles, we end up with 11 articles. We focus on how neighborhoods are defined and briefly highlight findings on CES-D. For the most part, the definition of neighborhood is limited, frequently justified, and typically hidden in the methodological details and closing arguments of an article. In general, articles evade the discussion of polygon appropriateness with relation to the term neighborhood. Our review suggests that a good starting point for advancing this field of inquiry would be to increase the definitional precision of the term neighborhood and to offer an upfront disclosure with more appropriate terminology. Doing so may lead place-effect investigations in population aging and frailty down a more productive road.

CITATION:
C. Siordia ; J. Saenz (2013): What is a “Neighborhood”? Definition in studies about depressive symptoms in older persons. The Journal of Frailty and Aging (JFA). http://dx.doi.org/10.14283/jfa.2013.23

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