November 23, 2022
Dr. Yanping Jiang, core faculty member at the Center for Population Behavioral Health and instructor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, recently published new research.
The article, entitled “Living alone and all-cause mortality in community-dwelling older adults: The moderation role of perceived neighborhood cohesion,” was published in Social Science and Medicine in November 2022.
Objectives: The adverse effect of living alone on health has been well-documented in community-dwelling older adults. A less understood topic in this research area is whether some neighborhood characteristics may mitigate the negative impact of living alone on health outcomes and mortality. This study aimed to extend the existing work on living arrangements and health by examining the potential interactive effect of living alone and perceived neighborhood cohesion on all-cause mortality among older Chinese Americans.
Methods: Data were drawn from 3154 (58.0% female) participants from a prospective cohort study of community-dwelling US older Chinese adults aged 60 and older in the greater Chicago area. Living arrangements and perceived neighborhood cohesion were assessed at baseline from 2011 to 2013. Mortality status was tracked through December 2021. Covariates, including sociodemographic characteristics, health and behavioral covariates, loneliness, depression, and social engagement, were assessed at baseline. Cox proportional hazards regression model was used to test our hypotheses.
Results: Living alone was significantly associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality among participants reporting low levels of perceived neighborhood cohesion but not among those reporting high levels of perceived neighborhood cohesion. This protective effect of perceived neighborhood cohesion was robust to the inclusion of covariates.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that strong perceived neighborhood cohesion may protect against the increased risk of premature mortality associated with living alone in community-dwelling older Chinese Americans.
Keywords: Living alone; Mortality; Older Chinese Americans; Perceived neighborhood cohesion; Social isolation.