Level of and Change in Cognitive Functioning Among Dutch Older Adults: Does Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status Matter?
Official statistics on neighborhood socioeconomic status were combined with data from the third, fourth and fifth wave of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam, covering a 6-year period. Using a structural equation modeling approach, linear growth curves of Mini Mental State Examination-assessments of older adults aged 57 to 88 years at baseline in 1995 were calculated. Individual socioeconomic characteristics were controlled to account for selection into neighborhoods.
Preliminary results suggest that the effect of neighborhood socioeconomic status depends on the degree of urbanity. While we did not find an effect of neighborhood socioeconomic status on the level of cognitive functioning in urban areas, it seems to make a difference in rural areas. Specifically, in rural areas, the level of older adults' cognitive functioning tends to be higher in neighborhoods with a higher (vs. lower) socioeconomic status. No association between neighborhood socioeconomic status and change in cognitive functioning was found.