197020 Social Participation among Adults with Disabilities: The Role of the Urban Environment

Monday, November 9, 2009: 2:30 PM

Philippa Clarke, PhD , Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Els R. Nieuwenhuijsen, PhD, MPH, OTR , Dept. of Physical Medicine and Rehabillitation, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI
Jennifer A. Ailshire , Population Studies Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Research on the role of the environment in the disablement process has been largely absent. Using data from the Chicago Community Adult Health Study (2002), we examined the role of the built physical and social environment on social participation (interpersonal interactions and relationships) among adults age 45+ (N=1195) according to their level of difficulty walking several blocks (no difficulty vs. some or a lot of difficulty). The International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) was used to identify and map the key variables for analysis. Built environment characteristics were assessed using systematic social observation to independently rate indicators of crime, social disorder, physical decay, and neighborhood security in the block surrounding each respondent's residence in Chicago. Using linear regression (controlling for age, gender, race/ethnicity, marital status, education, income, health conditions, and cognition) we found that adults with mobility difficulty (ICF d450) were significantly less likely to interact with friends, neighbors or relatives (ICF d9205) than adults who reported no difficulty walking (p<.01). However, living in a safe neighborhood in Chicago (characterized by the presence of neighborhood crime watch signs and security warning signs (ICF e545)) facilitated social participation among those with walking difficulty (p<.01). In these safe neighborhoods there was no difference in the frequency of social interaction between those with and without walking difficulties. Neighborhood safety had no effect on the frequency of social participation among adults who could walk independently. These results highlight the characteristics of urban environments that can facilitate participation among those with mobility limitations.

Learning Objectives:
Identify the characteristics of urban environments that can facilitate participation among those with mobility limitations.

Keywords: Community Participation, Disability

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Doctor of Philosophy - Social Science and Health Department of Public Health Sciences Graduate Department of Community Health University of Toronto Clarke P, Ailshire JA, Bader M, Morenoff JD, House JS. Mobility disability and the urban built environment. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2008;168:506-513 Principal Investigator. “Urban Built Environments and Trajectories of Disability among Community Dwelling Older Adults”. Career Development Award (K01) funded by the Centers for Disease Control. 09/30/2007 – 09/29/2010.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.