163454 Measuring the social environment: Individuals, neighborhoods and communities in health disparities research

Tuesday, November 6, 2007: 3:35 PM

Alice Furumoto-Dawson, PhD, MPH , Center for Interdisciplinary Health Disparities Research (CIHDR), University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
DingCai Cao, PhD , CIHDR & Department of Health Studies, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Charles Mininger, MA , School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Sarah J. Gehlert, PhD , Center for Interdisciplinary Health Disparities Research, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Background: A core concept of social epidemiology is that societal factors are major determinants of individual well-being and life course, and therefore of population health and health disparities. The social environment, group and network-based relationships and processes, is grounded in the places where people live, manage households and daily life, learn, work and socialize. Yet because people are clustered and similar households sort into neighborhoods, social environments are complex sets of correlated factors and pose analytical challenges. Objectives: 1) Explore sets of objective and subjective measures of social environment for African-American women participating in cancer disparities research. 2) Examine relationships of built environment to social environment measures from multiple sources at neighborhood and individual levels. Methods: Combine indicators from multiple sources using generalized latent variable modeling (GLVM) to estimate correlated measurement error and test for relationships across multi-level model of key features in social environments that affect individual stress-related biomarkers via subjective measures of psychosocial stress and loneliness. Results: Analyses suggest clustering of social environment indicators and associations with psychosocial stress. Results from proposed GLVM using these indicators with community level indicators of the social environment will be presented. Discussion: Being able to measure and evaluate associations between physical and social environments of neighborhoods and individuals has implications not only for elucidating causal pathways of population health disparities, but also for making the case for the critical role of public health considerations in local governance and in evaluating effectiveness of interventions to restore the social fabric of neighborhoods at risk.


Learning Objectives:
By the end of the presentation, the participant will be able to: 1. Understand conceptually the use of latent variables and multilevel data to address complex interactions in the social determinants and etiologic pathways underlying population health disparities; 2. Have an understanding of how objective, observable features of the built environment are related to the social environments of neighborhoods within communities; 3. Give examples of how neighborhood level environment factors can influence individual level biological indicators of psychological stress.

Keywords: Health Disparities, Psychosocial Issues of Cancer

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.