The primary question is whether collective neighborhood socioeconomic status influences the health of residents adjusting for their own personal or household socioeconomic statuses. If it does, the second question is how. To answer these questions, we propose a reconceptualization of socioeconomic status on both levels. If neighborhood socioeconomic statuses have an effect on residents'health over and above the impact of their own socioeconomic characteristics, we suggest that it is because collective socioeconomic statuses indicate concepts distinct from individual ones. The proposed project will consider the differences between what a measure indicates on the personal level that might affect health and what concept it indicates on the collective level that might affect health. Distinct concepts on the two levels likely have different associations with health and different pathways to health. We delineate three elements of socioeconomic status on the personal and contextual levels: education, work/employment, and economic circumstances. On the neighborhood level we propose that education indicates collective human capital;employment, collective watch;and economic circumstances (especially home ownership), collective interest. Multi-level, multi-indicator structural equation models will allow us to distinguish separate elements of neighborhood socioeconomic status, which most previous research on neighborhoods and health has not. Distinguishing and defining elements of socioeconomic status on the personal and contextual level is the first step necessary in order to examine associations between health and neighborhood socioeconomic status and it's elements, and compare these results to personal socioeconomic statuses. For instance, on the personal level economic hardship may be the economic element with the strongest relationship to health;on the neighborhood level, the prevalence of home ownership may be. Next we propose to explain the associations. We focus on two main explanations linking neighborhoods to health: the neighborhood context of disorder and stress, and health lifestyle. The analyses will use data from our 1995 survey of Community, Crime and Health (CCH), a probability sample of Illinois households with linked census tract information, and a follow-up in 1998.
The project will examine whether collective socioeconomic status influences the health of residents adjusting for their own personal or household socioeconomic statuses. Results may suggest ways of decreasing health disparities, preventing health problems among residents of disadvantaged neighborhoods, and improving public health.
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