Social cohesion as perceived by community-dwelling older people: the role of individual and neighbourhood characteristics

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Hanna M. Van Dijk
Jane M. Cramm
Anna P. Nieboer

Abstract

Social cohesion in neighbourhoods is critical to supporting the rising number of community-dwelling older people. Our aim was thus to identify individual and neighbourhood characteristics influencing social cohesion among older people. We employed a cross-sectional study of 945 (66% response rate) community-dwelling older residents (70+ ) in Rotterdam. To account for the hierarchical structure of the study design, we fitted a hierarchical random-effects model comprising 804 older people (level 1) nested in 72 neighbourhoods (level 2). Multilevel analyses showed that both individual (age, ethnic background, years of residence, income and self-rated health) and neighbourhood characteristics (neighbourhood security) affect social cohesion among community-dwelling older people. Results suggest that policy makers should consider such factors in promoting social cohesion among community-dwelling older people. Policies aimed at improving neighbourhood security may lead to higher levels of social cohesion.

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