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Neighborhood Disadvantage, Social Comparisons, and the Subjective Assessment of Ambient Problems among Older Adults

Scott Schieman and Leonard I. Pearlin
Social Psychology Quarterly
Vol. 69, No. 3 (Sep., 2006), pp. 253-269
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20141744
Page Count: 17
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Neighborhood Disadvantage, Social Comparisons, and the Subjective Assessment of Ambient Problems among Older Adults
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Abstract

Using data from adults age 65 and older in the District of Columbia and two adjoining counties in Maryland, we examine the association between community-level structural disadvantage and individuals' subjective assessments of neighborhood problems. In addition, we test whether or not perceptions of relative financial equality or inequality with neighbors moderate those effects. Results show an overall positive relationship between community-level disadvantage and perceived neighborhood problems, regardless of social comparisons. That positive association, however, is weakest among people who feel relatively similar to neighbors; it is strongest among individuals who feel relatively advantaged and those who do not know their relative financial standing. We discuss the implications of these findings with respect to stress and status homology processes in neighborhoods.

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