Neighborhood social environment and disability among Mexican older adults: a cohort-based analysis

Laura Juliana Bonilla-Tinoco, Julián Alfredo Fernández-Niño, Dustin T. Duncan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Considering that the world population is rapidly aging and disability is a very frequent event in older adults, there is an increasing interest in studying their determinants, such as the neighborhood characteristics. Thus, this study aimed to explore the association between the social environment of the neighborhood and disability in older adults. A cohort study was assembled using waves 1 and 2 from the Study of Global Ageing and Adults Health (SAGE) in Mexico, which included adults with 55+ years old. Neighborhood characteristics - such as social participation, trust and safety - and individual covariates were measured only in wave 1 (baseline), while disability was measured in both waves to adjust for the score of wave 1. Multilevel negative binomial models with random intercepts at the municipality level were constructed for the disability score in wave 2, using each of the social environment variables as the main exposure and adjusting for the sociodemographic and health-related variables. Finally, interaction terms with sex, age, and socioeconomic quintiles were tested. Results showed that neighborhoods with a medium (IRR: 0.68; 95%CI: 0.53-0.87) or high (IRR: 0.67; 95%CI: 0.52-0.86) safety level were associated with a significant reduction in the disability score of adults older than 75 years, although there was no association between other characteristics of the social environment and disability in the general sample. Consequently, actions to improve safety in the neighborhoods should be carried out to help reduce the disability score in vulnerable older adults, especially in a context where safety is a critical issue, as in Mexico.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00206919
JournalCadernos de saude publica
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2020


  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disabled Persons
  • Social Environment
  • Spatial Regression
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Brazil
  • Mexico

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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